This was in the presence of the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-François Ferrari, and the principal secretaries for fisheries and for the Blue Economy, Roy Clarisse and Kenneth Racombo, respectively.
The meeting took place at the Mont Fleuri secondary school hall.
The voluntary fisheries zone closure project which was prompted by Darrell Green, chairman of the Praslin Fishers Association, was financed by SeyCCAT (Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust) for a sum of R877,200. R50,000 was contributed by the Praslin Fishers Association and the project ran for a period of two years.
Presenting the findings, Mr Green said that at first there were a couple of fishermen who were skeptical of the project and declined to be part of it but after the first closure they came around as they saw its benefits.
The project was first initiated by the fishermen themselves who aimed to protect their fish stocks.
“To protect the resource, we need to recognise and promote these experiences,” said Mr Green.
The project first appointed a committee which then organised awareness campaigns and surveys.
The project was a voluntary closure of the bay of Baie Ste Anne Praslin from November 1 to April 30. During the closure no fish traps were allowed in the bay and yellow buoys were placed to demarcate the ‘voluntary temporary fishery closure’.
Further, during the temporary closure period, the association would catch and release the fish for scientific purposes and data collection.
In total 2,159 fish were caught, measured and released. Before the first closure the fish weighed at 0.41kg and during closure at 1.34kg. After the second voluntary closure the fish weighed 1.1kg. This saw a rise in fish caught in fish trap and after the second closure the fish weighed at 7.1kg. Before the closure the fish measured at 14.5cm, during the closure period it was 19.9cm and after the second closure measured at 21cm.
The weight of the biggest fish caught before the voluntary closure was 194g and during closure went up to 288g and the result after the second closure showed that the biggest fish weighed at 741g.
Mr Green said that in their findings the fishermen saw that the fish had managed to grow and multiplied which benefitted them and the Praslin community in general.
The Praslin Fishers Association also showed a short documentary on their processes, findings and opinions.
Minister Ferrari said he is extremely proud of what the fishermen of Praslin have done and that it is important to teach the youth that there are benefits in managing our resources.
He added that they wish to bring the same mindset to all other districts and pass on the message through the fishermen’s associations.
He highlighted that it is a great achievement when people take the initiatives themselves rather than always relying on government.