- The official reopening of the Octopus Fishery 2013 took place at Petite Butte on Monday 07 October 2013. With view to increase awareness of the benefits of the closure season amongst the octopus fishers and the general public, a competition on the biggest octopus catch was organised and a “Top Chef Ourites Menu Competition” was held at Mourouk Ebony Hotel. The Chief Commissioner of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, Serge Clair, and teh Secretary of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), Jean-Claude de l'Estrac, were present at the opening ceremony, given the importance of this measure for the preservation of natural resources.
Mario Lenzi Emilien won the first prize with a catch of 5.3 k, and Jean Claude Meunier with 4.8 kg Johnson Perrine, 4.5 kg. In other parts of the island, the largest catches were made but not officially approved. The Commissioner of Fisheries, Richard Payendee, announced in its official discourse that fishers in the Port Southeast returned with four octopus of 20 kg.
This temporary closure, which was a first in Rodrigues, was supported by the Indian Ocean Commission through the SmartFish and funded by the European Union. "The authorities were aware of problems with the octopus fishery and thought to protect the fisher's interests to ensure the sustainable development of octopus fisheries in Rodrigues. This is because in less than 10 years there would be no more octopus' if nothing was done." Said Richard Payendee, the Commissioner of Fisheries in Rodrigues. "Over the last decade, we have seen that there are fewer octopus, but we had no choice because it was our livelihood" Stephania Claire shows, one of octopus fisherwomen. The octopus is among the marine species that grow the fastest in a short time (usually less than two years). Fifteen years ago, Rodrigues produced nearly 800 tonnes of octopus per year, but today they produce less than 200 tonnes. It is hopedvthatbthrough this programme octcopus fishery will increase in the near future.
The closure season ourites Rodrigues was cited as an example in the sound management of natural resources. The closure allows the marine ecosystem be less pressure. A female octopus can lay up to 500,000 eggs in ideal conditions. In Rodrigues, the most favorable period extends from August to October and allows females migrate offshore to spawn and take refuge on the barrier reefs for shelter from predators. During the period from Closing time, they are some 1260 fishermen who have benefited from alternative paid activities for 30 days.