Establishing long-term, sustainable fisheries is tremendously beneficial to both the Seychelles environment and its economy.  In order to achieve such goal it is imperative that fisheries management is based on sound fisheries statistics. The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is the custodian of numerous valuable fisheries related data managed by the statistic section. The mandate of the Statistics section is stipulated under Section 7 (1) of the Fisheries Act 2014 which states:

The Authority shall collect and analyse statistical data and other information on fisheries, fishing related activities and aquaculture, including fishermen engages in fishing activities.”

 

Objective

The main objectives of the statistic unit is to produce reliable, accurate and comprehensive statistics to enable scientists to provide sound scientific advice and analysis of the status and dynamics of fish populations and enables policy makers to make informed decision for the sustainable development of the fisheries sector. High–quality data also provides a direct measure of effectiveness of fisheries management and regulations.

 

Responsibilities

The responsibilities of the Statistics Unit is to:

  • Ensure fisheries information is provided at the highest quality within reasonable timeframe.
  • Undertake comprehensive statistical analyses on fisheries data,
  • Ensure SFA meet its obligations in timely dissemination of fisheries related information to all its stakeholders, international organizations and the general public.

 The main activities undertaken by the Statistic unit to meet its stated objectives varies widely and includes but not limited to:

  • Data collection, capture, verification, validation and processing of fisheries related data for artisanal, semi industrial and industrial fisheries.
  • Management of fisheries statistical databases.
  • Assisting with the development of specialized fisheries statistical software.
  • Conducting statistical analyses on fisheries related data, research projects, stock assessment and evaluation of the impact of fishing.
  • Producing and publishing statistical bulletins, technical reports and scientific papers.
  • Disseminating timely and accurate fisheries data to meet local and international obligations and needs.

Data are collected, verified, validated and processed for all four major fisheries.

  • Artisanal Fishery

The artisanal fishery is monitored by SFA technicians based on various landing sites around Mahe Praslin and La Digue to collect information on boat activity, fishing trips, species composition, and weight and prices information. The artisanal fisheries is monitored by a data collection scheme based on a creel-type survey methodology stratified geographically and by boat and gear type, set up in 1985 soon after the establishment of SFA.

  • Semi Industrial Fishery

The semi industrial longline fishery is monitored through a logbook system. Logbooks are distributed by SFA to all skippers of semi-industrial longliners and are collected by fisheries statistical technician upon the arrivals of the vessel from its fishing trip. The logbook provides most of the fishing trip general information, and the day-by-day catch and effort information. Landing forms from fish processors and fish mongers are also collected for the trips and is used for processing logbook data so as to obtain the actual catches of the fishery. The positions declared on the logbooks are also validated by the SFA Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data.

In addition a tuna-sampling programme with aim to collect information on the size distribution of the different species (swordfish and tuna) caught, so as to monitor the stock structure relative to time and strata, was set up by SFA since the beginning of the fishery. Length frequencies data are collected at the landing sites by fisheries research technicians.

  • Industrial Purse Seine Fishery

The Purse seine fishery is monitored by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) statistic section in collaboration with the “Institut de Recherche pour le D´eveloppement” (IRD) of France and the Instituto Espagnol de Oceanografia (IEO) of Spain.

Data sources for tuna purse seiners are logbooks, well plans, landing and transshipment forms which are collected by the MCS section of SFA and are then submitted to the statistics section. Logbooks are completed by the captains and contains record of the vessel’s daily activities, catches and effort as estimated by the captain. Landing and Transshipment information are obtained from either the vessel owner or the vessel local representative (agent) to process the logbook catches so as to obtain the estimated total catches of the vessels per trip. The positions declared on the logbook by the captain is also validated by VMS data.

The multi-species nature of tropical tuna surface fisheries gives rise to a series of difficulties at the time of estimating basic catch by species and catch by size statistics. Complications are mainly due to the unreliability of the weight and species composition declared on the logbooks (eye estimate of skippers). In order to improve the accuracy of statistics for sound stock assessment, it is essential to implement a tuna-sampling programme. Hence in addition to Logbooks, landings and transshipment data, biological sampling are carried out in port Victoria during unloading  in order to simultaneously estimate the species composition (by counting and identifying each species) and to obtain the length frequency distribution (by measuring the individuals) of the catch. The sampling is undertaken based on various criteria such as;

  1. types of association (free schools or FAD’s associated schools)
  2. zone covered, (10 zones)
  3. season (according to the quarter of the year)
  • Industrial Longline Fishery

The main data sources for the industrial longline fishery are logbooks and length frequency data form. These vessels rarely use Port Victoria for unloading, however their landing and transshipment data from other ports are collected by SFA’s MCS section.

All longliners licensed to fish inside of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic zone is under obligation to submit a logbook to the Seychelles Fishing Authority for the whole duration of their licensed period. The logbook details their daily catch and effort whilst inside of the Seychelles EEZ and state when they are outside the EEZ or in Port. Seychelles registered vessels are under obligation to submit a logbook detailing their daily activities, catch and effort wherever they operate throughout the validity of their registration period.

A sampling protocol with aim to collect information on the size distribution of the different species (tuna, billfish and sharks) caught, so as to monitor the stock structure relative to time and strata, was set up by SFA in 2007. The sampling is carried out on Seychelles Registered vessel by crew members. They measure the first 20 fish per each set hauls and record on a sampling form which is submitted to SFA by email on a weekly basis.