Port Louis is the biggest port in Mauritius and every sailing yacht has to visit it at least twice, to clear in and out of Mauritius. At the entrance to the harbour area we noticed some very rusty and old looking fishing boats which are moored in twos, threes or fours. First we thought they are detained (maybe they did some illegal fishing) because they looked dilapidated and run-down. But it turned out those are Taiwanese fishing vessels, which buy their fishing license from Mauritius to be allowed to fish in their waters. Maybe they are the cheapest boats to do industrial fishing here. So they are just waiting inside the harbour for the next fishing season to start.
Those rusty boats are mostly long-lining-fishing boats catching mainly tuner fish. They drop kilometers of fishing lines in the water. On those lines you find thousands of hooks in short distances with baits to attract bigger fish. Sadly you often find also a lot of other animals on those hooks, like turtles, marine mammals, sea birds or sharks. Although sharks are often welcome. Mostly those boats do not have a license to catch sharks but they just cut off their fins. Once dried they are easily hidden and can be sold for a lot of money for shark fin soup.

Planet Ocean
Planet Ocean
Planet Ocean
Planet Ocean

After we talk to a few locals and ask them if those boats are detained, we learn a much different story. There is a crew on board but is not allowed to leave the boats and go on land in Mauritius. They have to stay on board for months and live with the few things they get from their employe or have at their disposal. You could say they are kept like slaves. According to locals they nevertheless sometimes illegally go on land and catch some dogs to eat...
Recently more and more of those conditions on fishing vessels are made public. Just a few weeks ago a report from Thailand about the slaves from Burma or Cambodia working on Thai fishing boats, who are kidnapped, deposited on the boats and afterward are maltreated during their time on board. In the worst case they die and just get thrown off the boat. Such conditions are more and more common. Everybody who is buying or eating tuner or shrimps next time should not only ask themselves where does it come from and what were the fishing methods, but also what were the circumstances and who caught the fish or shrimp.

project manaia

Krüss Mikroskope