Understanding community perception on aquaculture: Lessons from Mauritius as an ocean state




Abstract. Nirsimloo P, Mattan-Moorgawa S, Bhagooli R. 2019. Understanding community perception on aquaculture: lessons from Mauritius as an ocean state. Ocean Life 3: 47-53. Aquaculture is considered as one of the fastest food production industry during the past decade and holds high importance in fulfilling the global seafood demand. Globally, limited studies have been conducted on the social acceptability of aquaculture. It thus remains a key challenge to understand the perceptions of people on this subject in order to manage fish farming in a sustainable way. A survey-based approach was developed in order to have an in-depth assessment of perceptions and attitudes of public on aquaculture and its implications on the Blue Economy in Mauritius. Respondents’ perceptions were evaluated on five different aspects of aquaculture, namely, knowledge, socio-economics, environment, food security and implications for a Blue Economy. A total of 385 questionnaires was administered for the study from October 2016 to March 2017 and a response rate of 100% was recorded. Different statistical tests, like Spearman Correlation, Kruskal-Wallis and Chi-Square test, were used to compute data. Descriptive statistical methods revealed that 69.1% of respondents were in favor of expansion of the aquaculture industry in Mauritius. A poor but significant correlation (r=-0.0169, p<0.05) was found between favoring aquaculture expansion and perceived environmental concerns of aquaculture. A chi-square test confirmed a statistically significant association (p<0.05) between educational level of respondents and their knowledge on aquaculture. When aquaculture and Blue Economy in Mauritius were correlated, creation of employment opportunities, ensuring food security and boosting the economy of the country were factors chosen by most respondents to acknowledge the implications of aquaculture on the Blue Economy.