Mauritius in partnership with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is hosting a three-day sub regional workshop on Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs), aimed at establishing protective measures for PSSAs tailored to prevent, reduce, and eliminate the risk of damage from international shipping activities.
The workshop is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping and the IMO. Some 20 participants from Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion Island and Madagascar along with some 20 local participants from different Ministries and the National Coast Guard are attending. The working sessions are conducted by resource persons from the IMO.
The overall objective is to assist participants in initiating a PSSAs assessment process, taking into consideration the IMO’s associated protective measures that could be implemented under proposed PSSAs.
Present at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, underlined that PSSAs have particular ecological, socio-economic, cultural heritage or scientific attributes that need special protection from damage from international shipping activities.
He added that oceans are facing significant existential and ecological risks that can negatively affect the social and economic properties and prospects of all countries, particularly the Small Island Developing States like Mauritius.
“One should be cautious while exploring and exploiting the oceans so that we can unlock the full potential of the ocean economy while keeping a safe and clean marine environment for the future generation,” he pointed out.
According to Minister Koonjoo, the challenge is to tap the full potential of the ocean economy while maintaining its social and environmental values. In line with environmental sustainability, he said, Government has taken various initiatives to conserve and sustainably use the ocean and marine resources including, the setting up of marine protected areas, upgrading of our legislations and the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning as a relevant tool to foster sustainable development.
For his part, IMO Team leader, Mr Edward Kleverlaan, pointed out that Mauritius is bound to become more vulnerable to marine biodiversity damage, while highlighting the intensification of maritime trafficking in the Indian Ocean. He assured that IMO will support Mauritius with the required resources and expertise so that the country is properly prepared to address all risks that could arise and take concrete actions to prevent any ecological disaster.