The Research Division is responsible for undertaking research activities in order to generate scientific information for the management of different fisheries, and assist the fishing sector develop new resources. It also collects fisheries dependent and independent information (catch, effort etc) that is used in stock assessments of different fish populations.

Research Project:

Current Ongoing Projects:

EMOTION

The EMOTION project is an IRD research project which aims at testing and quantifying maternal effect on large pelagic species. The study is being done on 3 species of the Indian Ocean tuna population. The 3 species of tuna being targeted are the yellowfin (Thunnus albacores), the skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) and the bigeye (Thunnus obesus). The study will collect biometric measurements; these include the weight, fork length, predorsal distance and thorax girth along with samples of white and red muscle, liver and gonads. Samples will be tested for stable isotopes, proteins, lipid classes and fatty acids. The results from the lipid and fatty acid analysis will give information on the lipid dynamic and the energy that is allocated to the fish and to offspring during reproductive cycle.

IOT-canal

IOT-canal project aim is to find out why during certain months of the year the meat of the tuna that IOT obtained from the Mozambique Channel is of lower quality compare to other months. The sampling technique is similar to that of the EMOTION project.

Shark Tagging Project

Large tiger shark and bull shark are being tagged using archival tags to look at spacio-temporal movement on the Mahe plateau.

AMESD(African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development)

The project is providing SFA with near real time remote sensing data of sea surface temperature and chlorophyll data. The data is currently available at SFA and in the future it will be made available to fishermen.

ODINAFRICA

The project aims to develop an electronic national marine atlas, which will allow users to develop online maps of their choice. The project is also developing an electronic national library management system, which will provide access to national publication, journals, reports etc.

The Seychelles Ocean Temperature Network

The Seychelles Ocean Temperature Network involves the deployment and collection of ocean temperature data within the Seychelles Archipelago. Data is available since 2007 and the plan is to incorporate those data with the fisheries data to evaluate if there are any link between environment variables and climate change.

New Project:

Lobster Project

The aim is to monitor and assess the lobster stock on Mahe plateau using a multidisciplinary approach. The project will involve carrying out fisheries independent survey to establish the abundance and monitor recovery of lobster stock, establish appropriate minimum size at first capture for the species P. Penicillatus and P.Longipes on length at first maturity. A tagging programme will also be set up to determine the growth rate and movement of lobsters. Currently the project is still in planning phase and is expected to start in November.

Sustainable management of key herbivores critical for coral reef resilience

The specific objectives of the project are to determine if changes in vulnerability to capture predisposes population of a key ecological herbivore (Siganus Sutor) to thresholds of collapse, to determine if juveniles of key herbivores species are being caught in Seychelles trap and also to incorporate the study finding in fisheries assessment and management strategies. The project which is also part of Jan Robinson PhD , has been submitted for ETF funding.

Shark Project

This project consists of using acoustic telemetry to study the behavioral ecology of grey sharks along the west coast of Mahe. Sharks will be tagged with acoustic tags and an array of acoustic receivers will be deployed at three main fishing grounds to monitor their movements.

Pangaea Project

This project will be implemented in partnership with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) as of October and will continue over the next 5 years.

The main objective is to study genetic connectivity between different island groups of the Seychelles archipelago.

Chemical level in pelagic fish

SFA/IRD in collaboration with SBS and FBOA are working on a project proposal which will investigate the level of chemical contamination and heavy metal in large pelagic fish. The aim is to provide information on the concentration of chemical contamination in the whole fish, the variation between and within fish age, size, sex, and information on the fish population in the Indian Ocean.

Sea Cucumber Projects

Currently SFA is working on two projects with aim to enhance the management of the sea cucumber fishery in Seychelles.

The first project which is being implemented by a PhD student from the University of Hawaii, Ms Hal koike, aims more towards the collection of fishery-independent information of the sea cucumber population here in Seychelles. Output will provide information on species composition, size/age structure, population density of species, habitat preference and habitat model based on depth. The project is currently in the final stage and Ms koike is in the process of writing the final report.

The second project is in collaboration with the sea cucumber association will involve additional fishery independent survey to have information on the status of the stock and also determine an acceptable harvest size.

Fisheries Research

SFA research division has 2 laboratories, the wet lab and the dry lab where all lab-based scientific research takes place. We also provide collaborative training with educational post secondary institutions.

Dry Lab

In the dry lab there are a few specialized equipments for various purposes and this is where most analysis takes place.

·     Otolith saw

Otoliths are commonly referred to as "fish ear bones." They are hard, calcium carbonate structures located directly behind the brain of bony fish. Otoliths help with balance and orientation of the fish. By using an otolith saw, thin sections can be cut and mounted on a slide. The slice can reveal bands of opaque and translucent rings, sort of like the rings on a tree trunk and this can be used to determine the age of the fish.

·     Histolgy

There are various machines available for the histology processes. These machines are used to process fish gonad for microscopic analysis to determine the sex and maturity stage of the fish.

·     Freeze Dryer

Freeze drying is the most gentle process for preserving biological properties of sensitive tissue and tissue components. As the drying process takes place in frozen state at a very low temperature it is possible to dry e.g. proteins which will not denature. Biological products such as tissues will become dry after the freeze drying process.

·     Microscope room

There is also a microscope room with different types of microscopes for various purposes.

Wet Lab

The wet lab is used for dissection of fish, usually tuna, and also other species depending on the research activities that are being undertaken. The wet lab contains some specimen storages including rare fish species that are occasionally caught by fishermen for identification purposes later on.

Research Vessel

The research section also manages and operates SFA's research vessels. R/V L'Amitie has an overall length of 19.98 m, breadth of 5.0 m, depth (draft) of 2.01 m and can support 12 crew