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Fishing in Mauritius
Surrounded completely by water, Mauritius is an angler’s dreaming place and because the island is small in size, movement from one place to another is very easy and so you can move from the north of the island to fish in the south in no time at all. The water is rich in fish but care is recommended while fishing on your own as there are numerous poisonous fishes that can be fatal if eaten. The catch however depends on weather conditions, time, temperature etc and so will be different from day to day in terms of fish species and numbers caught.
The place of fishing in Mauritius
Fishing is an important sector in the Mauritian economy employing directly and indirectly about 12,000 people. It is thus the source of income for a number of families and it is an important part of the Mauritian diet too. The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the island covers an area of 1.9million km2; as such, there is a large space for fishing though there has been a lot of controversy in the past regarding this issue because alien vessels were fishing in the Mauritian waters. Since then, the government issues permits for fishing in the surrounding waters.
Fish landing is done at 61 points scattered all over the island with Port Louis being the main port. There are four main types of fishing: artisanal fishing, where fishermen can fish off small boats in the lagoon or outside the reef for small fishes; bank fishing, where fishing is done on bigger boats off the lagoons for bigger fishes; tuna fishing, mainly for export and aquaculture for prawns and other crustaceans and big game fishing.
Big game fishing
Big game fishing is one of the best sports that you can enjoy in Mauritius. Any angler will be delighted by the variety of fishes available like the Blue Marlin, Yellow Fish Tuna, Sharks (tiger/blue), Sailfish, Dorado, Wahoo etc. About 1km offshore, the seabed declines at about 70m deep and this is where you will be served with all types of fishes. Fish species depend on the season of the year though; for instance you can hook on Blue Marlin from October to March, Tuna from March to April and Wahoo in September and during the off season, March to October, you will catch mostly Dorado or Bonito.
There are a number of fishing clubs offering big game fishing found on the coasts like the Anglers clubs in Black River (http://www.morneanglers.com/), JP Charters Ltd in Black River (729-0901), Sportfisher in Grand Baie (2636309) or your hotel can pre book one for you as part of a package. The anglers clubs rent boats for half a day or a full day and prices vary from club to club, size of the boat but can be on average Rs14,000 for half a day to Rs35,000 for a full day. The boats are equipped with radio, GPS, radar and all safety measures; all fishing gear is offered by the club (included in the fee) but you can bring your lucky rods or any other item with you. Boats allow a maximum of 6 persons with 2 cruise people and not more than 3 anglers for the trip.
Line fishing is done by a lot of fishermen with their hooks and lines off jetties or standing in the water (rivers/sea). Very relaxing process, tourists can also do so if they wish depending on where they are staying and obtaining the permission of the hotel to do it.
One of the best things to do is to follow the birds; after all, you are both looking for the same food. You can also glue your live bait to the hook so that it stays in place. Else you can paint your crank baits different colours to mimic different organisms like red to make it look like blood or even use different forms of bait since there are loads of weird creatures that fish feed on in the waters. Let your bait hit the bottom where possible and then move it gently to make it look like it is moving.