We are looking for Commonwealth citizens to share their views ahead of the 2024 Heads of Government Meeting. Sign up to take part

Enhancing fishers’ capacity to advocate for policy and programme review in Mauritius

  • Amount funded: £42,000
  • Year: 2022
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Locations: Mauritius
  • Grant stream: Open grants call

Livelihoods of fishing communities in coastal areas of Mauritius are adversely affected by climate change and recent environmental disasters, yet many face challenges accessing government fisheries support packages as they are unregistered and lack the requisite documentation.

Project partners
Environmental Protection and Conservation Organisation (EPCO)
Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping
View more detail
How we are helping

The project will strengthen the capacity of fishers and coastal communities to engage in policy and programme review, improve awareness of their rights and enhance support systems so that fishers are better protected against the uncertainty of climate change.

About the project

Climate change presents artisanal fishing communities in Mauritius with significant challenges, including rising input costs, the seasonal nature of fisheries, the growing uncertainty of catch from ecological shifts and marine resource degradation. Inability to catch or sell fish during the Covid-19 pandemic brought further hardship and many fishers were unable to access government support packages due to a lack of requisite documentation, information and ability to advocate their needs. Additionally, these coastal communities have limited information networks and are often faced with other societal priorities such as water supply or access to healthcare.

Environmental Protection and Conservation Organisation (EPCO) will collect data on amateur and registered fishers’ livelihoods in 18 villages: the type and amount of their catch and fishing grounds, as well as information on existing government and other institutional support systems. EPCO will work with partner organisations to strengthen the capacity of communities in affected coastal villages in Mauritius to increase fishers’ awareness of support systems and enable them to contribute to improving relevant policy processes.

This will be achieved through:

  • Creating a robust database of artisanal fishers (registered and unregistered) for use by local fisheries institutions and other government bodies to enable access to benefits and emergency aid.
  • Training and generating awareness among artisanal fishers of their rights and relevant policies. Building capacities in communication and advocacy skills to form networks and participate in policy and programme reviews.
  • Strengthening the support system for artisanal fishers and family by improving information exchange and promoting inclusive coastal leadership.
  • Building partnerships between NGOs and government to promote integrated risk reduction policies for fishers and strengthen the resilience of their communities.
  • Raising awareness through web-based news and media outlets on the formalisation of artisanal fishers labour.
  • Facilitating outreach and communication with district, state and national fisheries departments for reforms on integrated life and livelihood insurance for artisanal fishers.
  • Creating a series of videos for sharing on social media channels to encourage participation from all affected coastal villages.

As a result of this project, it is anticipated that fishing communities in 18 coastal villages will have an increased awareness of their rights leading to stronger participation in local council meetings to advocate on issues affecting their livelihoods. Improved documentation and relevant data will enhance access to support mechanisms and ultimately result in the formulation of new policies and programmes.

Project Partners
Environmental Protection and Conservation Organisation (EPCO)

EPCO is a local NGO based in Mauritius, founded in 1988, currently working on freshwater, marine, coastal and terrestrial biodiversity conservation projects. EPCO also focuses on climate change and disaster risk management projects and works closely with grassroot communities around Mauritius to find long term solutions to the affected communities.

Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping

The Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping has a vision to make the ‘blue economy’ an important pillar to sustain economic diversification and growth, having due regard to the conservation of marine ecosystems. Its mission is to strengthen governance and harness the marine resources in their Exclusive Economic Zone for fostering sustainable development in contribution to human wellbeing, food security and poverty alleviation.

Commonwealth Foundation logo

We support people's participation in democracy and development by providing grants, platforms, and expertise.