Dr Ebrahim explained that the “IKI project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) through a grant to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and its consortium partner, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency. Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports the IKI initiative based on a decision adopted by the German Bundestag”.
He further explained that an appraisal mission for this project was completed in Seychelles in September 2019 to identify broad activities and validate the interest of local partners.
“Through that consultation we were able to identify what type of fisheries needed more attention and that’s how the spiny lobster and the spanner crab fishery were chosen. On the local market right now, spanner crab is becoming more popular and smaller size of the species is being caught and there is a need that this fishery gets more attention. The IKI project formally commenced in April 2021.”
Dr Ebrahim remarked that other types of fish are covered under the management plan for demersal fishery and with these two species under this project, they will be able to draw a model.
The implementation of the project
Dr Ebrahim also gave a thorough description of the different phases of the implementation of the project.
One of the main components of this IKI project is focused on coastal fisheries via the application of the FishPath process and tool – a stakeholder engagement process supported by an online tool that allows for targeted capacity building training and supports the development of harvest strategies for target fisheries for sustainable fisheries management, and for their integration into Marine Spatial Planning.
The IKI project team has been working with partners at SFA to plan specific activities including, tailored training workshops including a Mid-Level Fisheries Science & Management Course, and capacity building workshops on the definition, development and operationalisation of a harvest strategy, the application of data-limited stock assessment methods, and the use of the FishPath process and tool in harvest strategy development.
“In so doing, we aim to develop a practical, applied training framework that can be a standing resource available to new practitioners moving forward,” said Dr Ebrahim.
“In addition, for identified fisheries, we will conduct a full FishPath engagement. This consists of a series of workshops and training in which data collection approaches, stock assessment methods and management measures most suited for the target fishery are identified and evaluated,” he added.
This identification of options will allow stakeholders to explore and assess the pros and cons of the different management options, identify trainings needed, and set forth a path to develop an action plan for the target fishery. The IKI project FishPath team will provide technical support for the project activities with emphasis on bottom-up engagement and a hands-on approach.
Moving forward, the IKI project will closely liaise with related projects currently being implemented in the Seychelles, to ensure a cohesive, complementary workplan is delivered. All activities and engagements will embrace a broad range of stakeholders, as identified by SFA, including researchers, managers, monitoring and compliance, and fishers. Throughout the project, stakeholders and general members of the public will be kept informed of the FishPath progress as grassroot communication and empowerment of local knowledge is at the heart of this project.
The second component of the project is in the management of tuna onboards. Mr Lucas explained that this phase was launched last year and the project is to digitize the recording of various processes on board.
“That does not mean what we used to do was not good but on the contrary we are trying to better the system. Under this component of the project, we are looking at the electronic monitoring system and the Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) management system. All information gathered on board will now be digitized. The different operators may have the information but that does not mean they will provide the info to science. In fisheries, there are different ways to get information, so the more layers we put in place will help us get more information on the resources,” explained Mr Lucas.
With all these positive efforts in the fishery industry, like training more Seychellois, the engagement of stakeholders – fishermen and non-governmental organisations – we are sure to see Seychelles becoming a ‘sea food haven’ for the world.