11

February

 

New measures will be put in place this year to regulate the collection of three types of commercial sea cucumber species in the waters of Seychelles.

The three targeted sea cucumber species commonly found in deep waters are the flower teat fish, white teat fish and prickly red.

The deputy chief executive of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Calvin Gerry, said, the “new management measure will be introduced to ensure sustainability and long-term viability of the sea cucumber species since it is no longer a virgin stock”.

Sea cucumbers are marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad found on the sea floor worldwide. They are so named due to their resemblance to the fruit of the cucumber plant and are consumed fresh or dried in various cuisines. Sea cucumbers are considered a delicacy in East and Southeast Asia.

A total allowable catch has been set up for each of the three species and these are 281,250 units for the flower teat fish; 56,250 units for the white teat fish; and 37,500 units for the prickly redfish.

The fishing season of the sea cucumber will also be reduced to eight months — from October to May. Currently, the fishing season is from October to June.

“This will be reviewed after three consecutive fishing seasons. We will monitor the quota and also put in place a review mechanism for non-performing licensees who are not utilising their quota,” says Mr Gerry.

The species is the most regulated of all fisheries in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, with fishing license conditions containing more than 30 articles. Due to exploitation for around 20 years, the stock has dwindled.

The chairman of the Association of Seychelles Sea Cucumber Industry, Paul Morin, said that symptoms of stock depletion have been detected during their last scientific analysis and it is prudent to enforce new regulation as a precautionary measure.

“The three species form the bulk of our harvest. I would say above 95 percent of our catch over the last 15 years. Therefore, if now we have been allowed to target only these 3 main species, it would have minimal impact on our traditional overall catch,” said Mr Morin.

Fisheries is the second largest contributor to the economy of Seychelles and more than 99 percent of the sea cucumber harvested is exported to overseas market.

“The limitation in quota will not affect the revenue collected as in previous years as the revenue gain is measured in weight,” said Mr Morin. “However, there are certain vessels that have been producing well that may be affected because their respective quota limit might be below their 2016 catch.”

Mr Morin said there are two reasons for the limit on the number of months for the sea cucumber fishing season.

“Sea cucumber divers are classified as commercial divers and after having stressed the body out for 8-9 months it is prudent that the body is allowed a break to properly recuperate. As our traditional management controls were based more on input control, this has allowed the stock the chance to replenish.”

A local fisherman, Terry Jeanne, who has been working in the industry for over 15 years, said that there should be more consultation with fisherman before a new regulation is put in place.

Mr Jeanne nevertheless agreed that if fishermen “want to ensure that there is a catch tomorrow, we need to regulate the collection somehow and prevent overfishing of the species.”

While at sea for several weeks, Mr Jeanne said he noticed that there is a depletion in the stock of sea cucumbers as he had to go in the deeper water to get his catch.  

He suggested that in the future other types of the species should be allowed to be collected to let the ones that are being fished to replenish.  

 

 

The fishing season of the sea cucumber will be reduced to eight months as of next year

 

 

Source: Seychelles News Agency

04-January-2018 

23

December

A foreign fishing vessel has been intercepted by the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) on suspicion of fishing illegally in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Sri Lankan flagged vessel was spotted by Seychelles Air Force Maritime Patrol Aircraft, North East of Denis Island during a routine surveillance mission on Wednesday December 20, 2017.  SCG patrol ship Andromache was subsequently diverted to intercept and board the suspected vessel.

Following consultation with the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), the vessel will be escorted to Port Victoria for further investigation. She is expected to reach Port Victoria today, and will subsequently be handed over to SFA and the police.

It is the second Sri Lankan fishing vessel intercepted by the SCG this year on suspicion of illegal fishing.  Another vessel was intercepted by SCG patrol ship Constant on October 15, 2017 after being alerted by local fishermen. There is an ongoing court case relating to the October incident.

23-December-2017

10

February

Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Pamela Charlette visited various activities related to her ministry at Anse Boileau and Anse à la Mouche yesterday.

This forms part of a series of visits Minister Charlette has been undertaking since last year and yesterday’s visit was her first for this year.

At Anse Boileau, the minister and her delegation were able to tour the proposed land location for the district’s new fish market and adjacent facilities. The proposed location is near the site where the old fish market previously was.

Juan Marimba, the senior project officer at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), stated that the fish market project is currently in its consultative phase.

“Before we undertake any work on the market we will have to organise consultative meetings with the community especially with the fishermen. The discussion will revolve around storage facilities, processing areas and so forth,” Mr Marimba highlighted.

He further stated that the actual construction work on the fish market is expected to start next year.

The Anse à la Mouche ice plant was the second meeting point of the visit, where Minister Charlette was given a run-down of the plant which was built in 1995 by the government of Japan. It is considered as one of the oldest ice plants in the country.

In this regard, Mr Marimba explained that the plant is in dire need of renovation work since its structure was affected by the tsunami which hit the country in 2004.

“We are also planning to upgrade the ice plant machine since the country has imposed a ban on the R22 gas. Hence we will have to replace the R22 gas in the machine with an alternative gas,” he elaborated.

A group of Japanese experts who installed the original machinery will be coming into the country to analyse the state of the machine and the feasibility of the upgrade.

Aside from these fisheries facilities, Minister Charlette made a round of several farms in Anse à la Mouche to learn more about the farmers’ challenges and achievements.

Suresh Vidot, a primarily livestock farmer who has been in the business for five years, told the minister that there is a lot more that needs to be done in order to create a thriving  local agricultural sector.

“One of our main challenges is marketing,” he told the Seychelles NATION.

“Moreover small farmers are getting left behind either because of large local competitors who are not controlled and saturate the market with their products, or imported products that also do the same.”

Mr Vidot added that the price for animal feed is much too high for certain farmers and that the authorities need to look into the standard and the running of the privatised abattoir.

The list of grievances from farmers continued to increase in length as the delegation stopped over at the farm of Sandville Desaubin, a crop farmer.

He also affirmed that many of his plant products are not selling due to the large quantities of imported products.

“Additionally we are facing issues such as the lack of electricity here on the farm [which is located on top of a hill] and the shortage of water especially during droughts. The latter can easily be solved by constructing a borehole,” Mr Desaubin stated.

But his biggest concern was most farmers’ inability to access the Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) line of credit at the Development Bank of Seychelles (DBS).

Linetta Estico, the deputy chief executive of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) acknowledged that the availability of the ADF line of credit, which is a revolving fund provided by the agency, is also one of their major concerns.

“We are negotiating with the bank to ensure that the ADF is more accessible to our farmers,” she stated.

“In regards to marketing, we are also in discussion to develop a memorandum of understanding with the Seychelles Trading Corporation (STC) to negotiate how STC can help the farmers sell their products.”

Minister Charlette is expected to continue with her series of visits next Friday.

The accompanying photographs show Minister Charlette on her visits yesterday.

10-February-2018

15

November

 

Indian naval ship Mumbai, a Delhi Class Destroyer, will be visiting Port Victoria from November 17-19, 2017 to undertake 

bi-annual Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and anti-narcotics patrol for the Republic of  Seychelles.

The deployment of INS Mumbai adds yet another chapter to the strong defence and maritime cooperation between Seychelles and India.

The Indian Navy has been undertaking bi-annual deployment towards surveillance of Seychelles’ EEZ in joint operations with the Seychelles Coast Guard for the past few years in pursuance of a defence cooperation agreement between the two countries.

The last such deployment was by INS Shardul in March 2017.

For the forthcoming patrol, it is also planned to embark officials from the Anti-Narcotics Bureau of the Seychelles Police Force to undertake anti-narcotics patrol, officials from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) to undertake patrol against

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and officials from the Marine Police.

During their stay in Port Victoria, the Commanding Officer and his ship’s crew will hold interactions with various authorities of the government of Seychelles and the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces (SPDF). The ship’s officers and crew will also take part in several sporting and cultural activities during their stay in Seychelles. After leaving Seychelles on November 19, 2017, the ship will return to Port Victoria on November 25 and finally depart Seychelles on November 27, 2017.

INS Mumbai (D-62) is the third in the series of Delhi class of Guided Missile Destroyers and is based at Mumbai, India.

She was built at Mazagon Dock Limited (India) and was commissioned into the Indian Navy on January 22, 2001.

The warship has a displacement of 6,200 tonnes and a maximum speed of 32 knots.

INS Mumbai is capable of accomplishing a wide variety of missions, primarily finding and eliminating enemy submarines, large surface ships and aircraft.

The Destroyer can also effectively undertake ocean surveillance, monitoring of sea lines of communications/offshore assets and escort duties.

At the helm of the ship is the Commanding Officer Captain Amit Srivastava.

While in Seychelles, the ship will be docked at Port Victoria and will be open to visitors on Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 10am to 3pm. All are cordially invited.


15-November-2017

02

February

The Seychelles and the European Union (EU) have signed and formalised the Agreed Records of the EU-Seychelles Joint meeting.

The two-day meeting was conducted on January 31 and March 1 wherein representatives from the European Commission and those from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) met to discuss the agreement which allows access for EU vessels in our waters and EU support to the local fishing sector.

It was in 1987 that the first Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Seychelles was signed. The current and revised agreement protocol in place was concluded in 2006 for a duration of 6 years, covering the period 2014 to 2020.

Yesterday’s Agreed Records were signed by Roy Clarisse, the special advisor for fisheries at SFA and Alan Gray, the International Policy Officer for trade negotiation and sustainable fisheries partnership at the European Commission.

Both sides put emphasis on the strength of collaboration between the two parties with Mr Gray even describing Seychelles as EU’s “strongest and reliable ally in the region”.

The joint commission meets annually to discuss pertinent issues, evaluate projects and establish the amount of capital to be funded to the local fisheries sector.

This year’s grant has come up to a total of €3.6 million and this includes a portion of 2017’s unutilised budget.

Nirmal Jivan Shah, the chairman of SFA, confirmed that €1.6 million will directly finance fisheries infrastructure in the country, with €600,000 dedicated to updating the processing plants located at Providence.

“We acknowledge that there are various problems with these plants and this funding will make sure they are brought to up to par and are functional,” Mr Shah explained.

Another project detailed in the Agreed Records is the implementation of an observer’s scheme which will facilitate and encourage the presence of local observers onboard European fishing vessels who are fishing in Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Mr Shah insisted that the above is extremely important in managing the fisheries sector as the observers’ role consists of quantifying the amount of fish and by-catch caught and where they have been caught.

On his side, Mr Gray said one of the important projects is the implementation of the Electronic recording and reporting System (ERS) aboard these vessels which will eliminate the need for a manual logbook.

This was in harmony with Mr Shah who described the concept as ideal for SFA due to the fact that the soft copies will lessen the amount of paperwork.

Also present during the signing were SFA’s chief executive Ronny Renaud and French Ambassador to Seychelles Lionel Majesté-Larrouy.

02-February-2018

30

January

 

The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Pamela Charlette has stressed the importance of quality control in the food production sector.

She was speaking at a ceremony yesterday to present FSSC certificates to participants of a training organised by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).

The Food Security Safety Certification (FSSC) 22000 is an award that is fully recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) which aims to enhance the level of quality of food production.

Henceforth SFA hosted a FSSC training session in September last year in order to improve the capability in the fish processing and value addition sector. It encompassed different aspects of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), ISO 22000 and other systems which are prerequisites for good manufacturing practices.

Ronny Antat, the development and assessment manager at SFA, stated that the individuals who benefited from the training all hail from various fish processing companies such as ISPC Seychelles and Ocean Product Seychelles (OPS) as well as regulatory bodies such as the Public Health Authority and the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS).

“The FSSC 22000 helps food-related companies achieve global food safety standards hence enabling their businesses to grow,” Mr Antat added.

In her speech for the occasion, Minister Charlette focused on the importance of quality control in the food production sector.

“Quality control systems are systems that are put in place in order to reduce mistakes and ensure that the products meet the requirements of the customers. While our industry is expanding we need to ensure that the right capacity and capability are made available to all relevant stakeholders,” she pronounced.

She highlighted the fact that the effective management of a globally reputed system such as the FSSC 22000 has the potential to take our local food processing industries to greater heights, especially on the international markets as it boosts consumer confidence in the brands.

Meanwhile the chief executive of SFA, Ronny Renaud, expressed his gratitude for the agencies and companies who were willing to let their staff attend the training.

“It shows the level of commitment in promoting the fisheries sector and partnering with the SFA to achieve its vision,” Mr Renaud emphasised.

The ceremony concluded with testimonies from various awardees who highlighted the importance of the certificate to the industry and their line of work.

Caption:

Participants in a souvenir photograph with guests after they had been presented with their certificate


30-January-2018

05

January

President Danny Faure visited the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) this morning, marking his first workplace visit in the New Year.

The SFA was established in August 1984, and is an organisation that aims to develop the local fishing industry to its fullest potential, whilst ensuring its sustainability.

President Faure began his visit at the head office in Victoria, where he was received by the Chairman of the SFA Board, Mr Nirmal Jivan Shah, and the CEO of the SFA, Mr Ronny Renaud. The President visited the training and research facilities, fuel claim offices, the artisanal fishing port, and main office building. He had the chance to meet management, staff, fishermen, and various stakeholders in the fishing industry including the Boat Owners Association, who were able to share their concerns with him.

Speaking to the staff, the President commended the long-serving professionals, and expressed his wish to see the fisheries industry grow to form a substantial part of the country’s GDP once again. He reiterated his commitment to looking after staff welfare, and encouraged employees to follow the structures in place and bring any issues to the attention of management and the Board.

The President visited the Providence Fishing Port next, where he received a tour of the premises by Mr Renaud. President Faure visited the ice plant, fuel area, aquaculture building site, and the second phase of development of the fishing port. Speaking to management staff following the visit, the President expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome and openness with which staff discussed their concerns.

President Faure said that he made his first visit of the year to the SFA to show the importance of the fisheries sector, which represents the future of the country. He gave his commitment to trying to find solutions to the various constraints brought to his attention, including space, resources, and the current scheme of service. Finally, he thanked all the staff for their hard work and dedication, despite the challenges they face, and encouraged them to maintain their focus as the SFA celebrates 34 years of existence this year.

Fri, 05 January 2018

04

January

2017 marked 33 years of existence of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) as the executive arm of the government dealing with all fisheries related matters. The authority is guided by government policy to promote sustainable and responsible fisheries development and optimize the benefits for present and future generations.

For 2017, the authority’s life cycle has been has been marked by a number of key events that has significantly impacted on the strategic direction of SFA and provided new foundations for future development.  These events include:

  1. Appointment of a new Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer in   May 2017.
  2. Appointment of a new minister responsible for Fisheries and Agriculture
  3. Recognition by government of the need to give new momentum to the Fishing industry
  4. Implementation of a “quota” system for yellow fin tuna fishing activity by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)

2017 was a year where after many years of facing serious challenges within the fishing industry, the authority, with the full support of government, initiated the development of a road map including a Strategic Plan for institutional recovery and development.

Despite limited financial and human resource capacities, SFA has been able to showcase a significant number of achievements for the development of the fisheries sector and some of these are highlighted below.

 

Yellow Fin tuna quotas and the IOTC: international success leads to national economic results and better conservation

Under the new management, the Seychelles delegation attending the 21st Session of the IOTC meeting was able to put forward a forceful and well-argued position to convince other members of this regional tuna management forum to allow Seychelles to set its quota for yellow fin tuna catch based on the 2015 figures, upturning the previous decision of the IOTC to use 2014 as the baseline year. This position significantly allowed for the industrial tuna fishing activity to extend until early December 2017 whereas the previous decision would have ended operations of the fleet as early as September.  The IOTC also approved a Seychelles co-sponsored resolution to phase out the number of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADS) and the supply vessels that manage them, thus making the tuna purse seine industry more sustainable.

 Providing infrastructure to support the fishing sector

SFA continued with first phase of infrastructure development of on Ile Du Port (Zone 14) involving construction of the road network and utilities services for the various developers located in the zone and are providing ancillary services to the industrial fishing sector. Works for this first phase are almost completed and the second phase of the project will commence by the second quarter of 2018.

2017 also saw the commencement of the second phase of the Japanese-funded (JICA) Providence fishing port extension project (Zone 6 Providence Industrial Estate) which is expected to be completed in July 2018.

SFA has also started a number of artisanal fisheries development projects at Glacis, Anse Aux Pins and La Digue, while at Bel Ombre construction of the processing plant facility comprising four units is almost completed. 

In the second half of 2017 SFA managed to address most of the issues relating to shortages of ice faced by the fisheries sector earlier in the year, through its ice plants repair and maintenance programme. Plants located at Bel Ombre, Victoria and Praslin were all running at full capacity in the second half of the year, while spare parts for the plants at Providence Fishing Port, Anse Royale and Anse à la Mouche have been purchased and repair of the facilities will be undertaken by early 2018. SFA has developed a comprehensive ice plant cleaning programme for all ice plants, bringing the country to international EU Standards.

The authority also managed to repair and install mooring buoys at the Victoria Fishing Port, as well as replace 9 navigation buoys at different channels around Mahé and Praslin.

 

Fishing today for tomorrow: Managing and planning for fisheries sustainability

In 2017 SFA developed an action plan to improve the sustainability of the sea cucumber fishery. The much awaited and critical management plan for demersal fisheries resources on the Mahé Plateau was finalised. Both plans were submitted and approved by Cabinet.

SFA has initiated the collection of information on all commercial, recreational and sport fishing vessels using a boat frame survey that would allow for updating of the fisheries licensing framework for the artisanal sector.

Research: laying the scientific basis for fisheries management and development

In 2017, the Fisheries Research Section continued to provide vital support to the development of our fisheries industry through a number of studies undertaken. These included the following:

  • Developed a new applied fish research projects to support the new demersal management plan for the Mahé Plateau;
  • Implemented a new data collection protocol for artisanal fishery catch assessment survey and new data capture software;
  • Collected data for over 200 trips under the Observer Programme was transferred into a central database for accessibility by scientists;
  • Upgraded the data management software for the purse seine fishery and developed new software for data processing to improve reliability and timeliness of purse seine datasets;
  • Initiated the collection of information on all commercial, recreational and sport fishing vessels using a boat frame survey;

Monitoring, control and surveillance

For 2017, personnel from the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) section participated in two national air patrol and three regional sea patrols of the Seychelles EEZ as part of the routine surveillance and monitoring programme to detect illegal fishing activities.

Additionally, coastal sea patrols were conducted around Mahé and the inner islands.

Farming the sea: Development of mariculture in Seychelles

In 2017, SFA continued with the development of the Mariculture Master Plan (MMP) and the Mariculture Policy for Seychelles. The authority also completed an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for aquaculture development in Aquaculture Development Zones and completed market studies on the establishment of export markets for Seychelles aquaculture products.

Construction started in 2017 on the Broodstock Acclimation and Quarantine Facility (BAQF) and is expected to be completed in April 2018.

The Mariculture Section was able to successfully run education and awareness campaigns to ensure adequate information is disseminated to the population, particularly educational institutions and meeting with fisherfolks.

Looking to the future

The authority has a new budget for 2018 approved by government and the National Assembly and this will bring in much-needed new staff and additional resources in critical areas including making the processing plants at Providence all operational. More attention will also be paid to fisheries transparency and to stakeholders. It is expected that the authority will improve its external communication both nationally and internationally. 

04-January-2018

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