Ocean Economy

Mauritius is a tiny land mass surrounded by a vast maritime zone of 2.3 million square kilometers and an additional sea area of 396 000 square kilometers co managed with Seychelles. The ocean represents our historical, cultural, environmental and economic heritage.

The Mauritius blue economy is currently represented by coastal tourism, fishing, seafood processing and seaport activities that are also considered as traditional ocean activities. These activities excluding coastal tourism represent 10% of the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and employ around 7,000 people.

The Government aims at increasing the share of GDP of the blue economy to 20% in the medium term. The strategy would be to work on the consolidation of traditional activities but also develop emerging ones such as aquaculture, maritime services, marine biotechnology and oil & gas exploration.

4 %

Contribution to GDP

$ 250 Million

Export

$ 300 Million

Re- exports

16000

Employment

    • Fishing

      • The Indian Ocean holds the second largest stock of tuna resources: Albacore tuna, the Bigeye tuna, the Skipjack tuna and the Yellow fin tuna.
      • Diversified fishing territories of fish stocks including pelagic and demersal species. Effective resource management through the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) with regular fish stock assessments.
      • Fishing license issued by the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping.
      • Investment from the Mauritius Investment Company in joint ventures engaged in fishing activities and its value chain.
    • Seafood Processing

      • Preferential market access to the EU, USA and regional countries.
      • Air Freight Rebate Scheme for chilled fish exports.
      • World-class infrastructure as well as an integrated logistics platform.
      • Competitive and efficient Freeport Zone.
      • No import duty on equipment or raw materials.
    • Aquaculture

      Mauritius Aquaculture is one of the key sectors identified by Government to boost local fish production and increase exports of locally produced seafood products. The Inland Aquaculture Scheme through its attractive taxation structure, provides an 8-year tax holiday as well as duty and VAT exemption on equipment.

      • Opportunities in Off- lagoon and Inland aquaculture
      • 8-year tax holiday and VAT and duty exemptions on equipment for Inland aquaculture 
      • Competitive site lease rates
      • Air freight rebate on chilled and fresh fish 
    • Legal Framework

      • The Fisheries and Marine Resources Act 2007 (Amended).
      • Maritime Zones Act (MZA) 2005.
      • The Food Act, Act No.1 of 1998 & the Public Health Act,
      • Act no.131 of 1925 Maritime Zones Act.
    • An Emerging Maritime Hub

      Strategically located along the key maritime trade route of the southern region of the Indian Ocean with an estimated traffic of 30,000 vessels plying annually in its maritime zone, Mauritius ambitions to emerge as a leading regional maritime hub. Consequently, over MUR 6 billion are being invested in the modernisation and expansion of the port. Completed projects includes the extension of the container terminal to increase capacity to 750,000 TEUs, acquisition of new cranes by Cargo Handling Corporation, extension of the MCT quay by 240m, dredging of the navigational channel to 16.5m to accommodate for larger vessels and land reclamation for other port related projects. The port master plan has been finalised and a further investment of over USD 700 million is forecasted over the coming years for the development of a cruise passenger terminal, breakwaters and an island terminal. To further optimise port infrastructure usage and increase port productivity, the establishment of a smart port system is underway.
       

       

    • Assets & offerings to enhance your competitive edge

      1. Strategic location.
      2. 24/7 operations.
      3. Competitive rates.
      4. Secure, reliable and timely operations.
      5. Wide range of service providers.
      6. Ease of doing business.
      7. Forecasted exponential traffic growth.
      8. Ideal to service growing demand for petroleum products of Eastern Africa.
      9. Freeport incentives.
    • Legal Framework

      1. Ports Act 1998.
      2. Shipping-Related Instruments:
      3. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), 1983.
      4. Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes, 1972 (London Convention).
      5. and the 1996 Protocol.
      6. International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990.
      7. International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.
         
    • Marine services

      A competitive platform to service the Marine Community:

      The conducive business environment supported by a pool of bilingual professionals and a solid technological backbone are core attributes for high- end marine based service delivery in Mauritius.
      Opportunities exist in various segments in Mauritius, namely:

      Vessel Registration

      The Mauritius Open Registry provides for reliable and secured registration services to vessels owners on a 24/7 basis at competitive costs. Moreover, the country is signatory to major international Maritime Conventions, the main provisions of which have already been laid down in the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and subsequent regulations.

      Why Mauritius for vessel registration?

      1. Enabling legislation based on the globally tested and respected UK model
      2. Mauritius is a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and party to all major international Maritime Conventions
      3. Neutral flag
      4. Competitive fiscal regime
      5. Established jurisdiction as an International Financial Centre (IFC)

      Legal Framework:

      1. Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Regulations 2009

      Relevant links to other supporting institutions:

      The Division of Shipping operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping (fisheries.govmu.org)
       

    • Marine ICT

      With a contribution of some 6% to GDP, the ICT sector is supported by an enabling ecosystem comprising a skilled labour force, broadband connectivity by submarine cables and plug-and play infrastructure. The integration of enabling technology platforms and the convergence of ICT and marine-related sectors broaden the economic space for IT start-ups, SMEs and multinationals.
      Opportunities in this segment range from integrated database with data mining capabilities, environmental and weather modelling applications, ocean sensors, satellite-based surveillance to sub-sea data centres.

      Legal Framework:

      1. Data Protection Act, ICT Act
      2. Copyright Act (Amendment)
      3. Electronic Transactions Act
      4. Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act
      5. Copyright Act 1997
      6. The Patent, Industrial Designs and Trademarks
      7. Act 2002
      8. Protection against Unfair Practices (Industrial
      9. Property Rights) Act 2002
    • Marine Finance

      Over the last few years, Mauritius has reviewed and introduced new legislation with a view to enhancing its competitiveness and ensuring the transition of the Mauritius -IFC towards a high value-added services platform. The inception of the Regulatory Sandbox License provides additional space for conducting innovative activities in the sector.


      Companies specialised in marine finance can leverage the Mauritius IFC’s hard and soft infrastructure to deliver a range of services including ship financing, management, brokerage, leasing and insurance, carbon exchange trading and blue bonds related activities. Moreover, structuring under a regional headquarter scheme to service the marine community from Mauritius provides for an automatic qualification of 8 years tax holidays.

      Companies specialised in marine finance can leverage the Mauritius IFC’s hard and soft infrastructure to deliver a range of services including ship financing, management, brokerage, leasing and insurance, carbon exchange trading and blue bonds related activities. Moreover, structuring under a regional headquarter scheme to service the marine community from Mauritius provides for an automatic qualification of 8 years tax holidays.

      1. Legal Framework:
      2. The Financial Services Act 2007
      3. The Securities Act 2005
      4. The Insurance Act 2005

      Relevant links to other supporting institutions:

      The Financial Services Commission is the integrated regulator for the non-banking financial services sector (https://www.fscmauritius.org/)
       

    • Marine Biotech

      Engaging the 6 billion Industry:

      Marine Biotechnology underpins vast potential for wealth and high-end job creation. The global market for the blue biotechnology sector is estimated to reach some USD 6 billion by 2022. The 2.3 million Km2 of maritime zone is home to numerous species with promising biotechnological prospects. Since 2000, the state marine research arm, the Mauritius Oceanography Institute, together with other related public and private institutions, has engaged in numerous marine biotech studies. The Mauritius Oceanography Institute has an extensive database of preliminary projects ready to be commercialized. This databases can be accessed through the following link: http://moi.govmu.org/online-databases.

      Moreover, the emerging biotech sector comprises companies engaged in bioinformatics, contract research, clinical trials, manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical devises, fish oil processing, biofertilisers and biofuels. Opportunities exist for companies interested in bio-prospection, isolation and commercialisation of biotech organisms.


      Legal framework:

      • Clinical Trials Act 2011, the Copyright Act
      • Patent, Industrial Designs and Trademark Act 2002
      • Genetically Modified Organisms Act 2004
         
    • Yacht Promotion scheme

      The Yacht Promotion Scheme is designed to attract luxury yachts in Mauritius. This very niche nautical tourism segment forms part of the top of pyramid of the tourism industry. This scheme would attract and facilitate the entry of luxury yachts and their passengers in Mauritius. The targeted market is high net worth individuals who owns luxury yachts or specialised companies who charter super yachts for a select group of tourists. Currently, super yachts can visit Mauritius conditional to securing a series of approvals and permits required from different Government entities including berthing rights, immigration, customs, authorisation to conduct inland flights via onboard helicopters, access to other Mauritius dependencies and territories to name a few. This scheme would provide for streamlined procedures and licencing to facilitate access of these yachts and their passengers to Mauritius catering for multiple berthing options, rights for helicopter flights and gaming among others. The EDB is currently working on the operationalisation of the scheme with a planned entry in operation in December 2020.
       

  • Creating Value from Deep Sea Water

    The Deep Ocean Water Application (DOWA) leverages the natural characteristics of nutrient rich, cold deep-ocean water for the development of high value-added commercial activities supported by new technologies and industrial know-how. These activities range from Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC), Green Data Centres, high-end aquaculture, pharmaceuticals, and thalassotherapy, among others. Contrary to existing government-led models governing deep ocean water industries, Mauritius favours a private-sector driven approach for this nascent industry by providing for increased fiscal and operational competitiveness. Currently, one project is under way in the Port-Louis region and, upon completion of its first phase, it will provide green cooling to several public and private buildings in the city centre.

    Why Mauritius for Deep Ocean Water Application?

    1. Carbon dating techniques indicate that the deep seawater (approx. 5 centuries old) is pure and free from surface pollution.
    2. Scientific analysis of physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the deep seawater confirms the mineral rich water with high nutrient content
    3. Temperature ranges from 4 to 6 Degrees Celsius creating value from deep sea water
    4. Private-sector-led development model allowed
    5. Allows for Green large-scale cooling (SWAC) substituting fossil fuels
    6. Carbon emission reduction with associated monetary benefits
    7. Support from Government institutions
    8. Existing legal and regulatory framework
    9. Maritime Zones Act- Section 21 & prescribed Regulations

    Investment opportunities:

    Attractive investment opportunities exist both in the upstream and downstream segments. The upstream segment relates to deep ocean water extraction and the green cooling industries. The downstream segment pertains to the use of sea water for commercial activities.

    Upstream:

    1. Deep sea water extraction
    2. Deep sea water sale
    3. Deep sea water air-conditioning
    4. Deep sea water energy conservation and production technologies
    5. Green data centre

    Downstream:

    1. Research or production activities using deep sea water
    2. High-end aquaculture
    3. Leisure, entertainment, tourism or wellness
    4. Production of deep sea water ice
    5. Production of high-purity marine salt
    6. Production of preservatives
    7. Research or production of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
    8. Production of premium mineral water or beverage
  • Hydrocarbon and Seabed Mineral Exploration and Exploitation:

    The discovery of hydrocarbon reserves off the coast of East Africa and Madagascar significantly increases prospects for hydrocarbons in the exclusive economic zone of Mauritius. Furthermore, the discovery in 2009 of inactive hydrothermal fields by the joint Mauritian and Japanese expedition within our EEZ indicates the like hood of mineral deposits. Previous international expeditions have also discovered fields of polymetallic nodules and mineral ore in ocean basins close to our maritime zone.

    The Expression of Interest (EOI) launched by Mauritius and the Seychelles for exploration of our Joint Management Area (JMA) extending over some 400 sq.km closed on 13 February 2016 with seven registered bids. Spectrum ASA successfully signed a contract with the Joint Commission in Mauritius on 09 to 11 January 2018 for a Multi-Client Survey. Spectrum ASA is expected to start carrying out the survey of the JMA as from September 2018. Mauritius is also firming up its petroleum bill that would be presented to Parliament in the foreseeable future. An expression of interest for exploration for our EEZ is also under process. Moreover, an EOI for sponsorship for deep sea exploration for minerals in international waters was launched in 2016.

    Why Mauritius for Hydrocarbon and Mineral Exploration and Exploitation?

    1. Interesting marine geological features in a relatively unexplored basin
    2. Contractual framework based on international best practices
    3. Enabling business environment
    4. Political stability and rule of Law
    5. Investment protection

    Legal Framework:

    1. Offshore Petroleum Bill based on international best practices in the process of being finalised
    2. Seabed Mineral Bill based on ISA codes in the process of being finalised

    Investment Opportunities:

    1. Licencing of rights for the development of commercial databases for multi-client surveys
    2. Licensing of concessions to oil companies for prospection and eventually production
    3. Sponsorship for seabed minerals exploration in international waters.
  • Hydrocarbon discoveries along the east coast of Africa and off Madagascar position Mauritius as an ideal platform to service the oil and gas industry. Increased regional connectivity, the existing Regional Headquarters Scheme coupled with other offerings of the Mauritius IFC as well as existing schemes for export-oriented enterprises provide for substantial benefits for companies operating in the support sector.

    Why Mauritius for the Oil and Gas Support Services Sector?

    1. Proximity to proven reserves
    2. Air and sea connectivity
    3. Broadband connectivity
    4. Enabling legal framework
    5. Attractive incentives for structuring in the services sector
    6. Schemes for manufacturing, light assembly, repairs, storage and distribution
    7. Stability and supportive soft infrastructure

    Legal framework:

    1. Financial Services Act
    2. ICT Act
    3. Relevant links to other supporting institutions:
    4. For Hydrocarbon and Seabed Mineral Exploration and Exploitation: Continental Shelf, Maritime Zones Administration& Exploration

    Investment Opportunities:

    1. Geoscience, marine extraction, marine-related environmental services and other technical, legal and financial services required for the granting of concessions and exploration activities.
    2. Regional Headquarter activities for support service contractors such as operation management and administration
    3. Manufacturing, storage and distribution of specialised goods
    4. Repairs and maintenance of vessels, craft and other relevant structures
    5. Other related services delivery


     

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