It's been 10 years since Nature Seychelles made a splash in the local waters with the launch of its ground-breaking and game-changing Reef Rescuers project. Based on Praslin Island and working in the Cousin Island Special Reserve, the project sought to restore coral reefs damaged by climate change-induced coral bleaching. The herculean task was met with some scepticism and naysaying in some quarters. But a decade down the line, we have proved that, yes, we can restore corals. And we can do so at a large scale.
(Seychelles Nation): With the drastic reduction in demand for Red Snapper on the local market as a result of the downturn of the tourism industry, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has revised the decision to ban the commercial exportation of the well-sought-after fish, to the advantage of artisanal fishermen.
The decision to ban the commercial exportation of Red Snapper was announced by President Danny Faure in February and was set to take effect as of April 15, with the aim of making Red Snapper more available to the local market and at a more affordable price to the average citizen.
However, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Seychelles in March and the imposition of health and safety measures, activities such as restaurants and hotels through which most of the demand is generated is very minimal, Minister Charles Bastienne said during a press conference yesterday.
It is for that reason that the ministry has revised the decision, so as to offset reduced demand on the local market, and provide avenues for artisanal fishermen and processors to continue with their operations and generate income, Minister Bastienne added.
“When we launched the emergency plan, we conducted numerous monitoring which indicates that sale at the community level has not really been affected. By opening up the channel for export, we are not expecting that export will be to the level at which it was before, due to complications in other countries and cargo and shipping severely disrupted by the pandemic. But nonetheless, it remains an opportunity, and will provide an additional market, to the relief of our fishermen and allow them to continue their activities,” Minister Bastienne stated.
According to statistics recorded by the ministry, an average of 50 tonnes of Red Snapper is exported annually, from a total average catch of around 370 to 380 tonnes per year. Primary markets include Reunion, Mauritius, United States of America (USA), and some European countries.
In a bid to ensure sustainability and protection of stock, new control measures and regulations are to be introduced, including a provision to release Red Snappers measuring less than 32cm. Furthermore, persons wishing to export in excess of 20kg of Red Snapper, as is the case for outbound travellers, must do so through commercial processors, for a formal process including the issuance of catch certificates, and testing whether the consignment meets sanitary standards, among others. Through this controlled system, the ministry and concerned agencies will also benefit from more accurate and reliable data with regard to how much fish is making its way out of the country. Cabinet approved the policy which applies not only to Red Snapper, but also other species of fish most-exploited, around a month ago.
The decision to not implement the ban is welcomed by artisanal fishermen and processors, Minister Bastienne added. As the chairperson of the High-Level Committee for Food Security, he met with stakeholders concerned with the exportation of demersal fish, and representatives of the Fishing and Boat Owners Association (FBOA) this week, whereby they expressed that the implementation of the ban would have adverse implications for artisanal fishermen and local processors, who lack the capacity to hoard large stocks, and the excess catch, especially during the northwest trade winds when the seas are much calmer and better suited to deep-sea fishing.
“Even if we are pronouncing ourselves on the decision, we had never really enforced the ban as regulations were yet to be drawn up and enforced. Regulations were in the pipeline but we wanted to observe the situation first and I think it is the appropriate decision for the moment,” Minister Bastienne concluded.
By Laura Pillay
Cousin Island Special Reserve was the island famously bought for conservation by BirdLife International in 1968, and it is now managed by Nature Seychelles. I visited the island at the beginning of the year to inspect catastrophic coastal erosion that had occurred, and it was the first time I had seen anything like it since we took over management.
(Seychelles Nation) The beach is of paramount importance as it is the most important unique selling point of Seychelles. All agencies should play their roles and there should be better coordination between all stakeholders to make a difference in terms of beach management. This was said by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley, at the second multi-sectoral meeting – Beach control meeting – at the Botanical House yesterday.
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles Coast Guard has new powers to fight illegal activity in the island nation's waters after a new law came into force. President Danny Faure assented to the Defence (Amendment) Act last Tuesday after it was approved by the National Assembly.
A Sri Lankan registered fishing boat has been intercepted by the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) on suspicion of fishing illegally in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Mahe Plateau Trap and Fishery Co-Management Plan has been endorsed by the Minister of Fisheries and has been gazette. This is the first time the plan such a plan has been put in place, Today in Seychelles reports in article dated February 14th 2020. The article says that an implementation committee is to be set up.
Nature Seychelles' Chief Executive Dr. Nirmal Shah has said that overfishing in Seychelles is a "serious problem" and that "political and social will have to be mobilized quickly" to address it.
Earth temperatures soared in the decade that just ended according to local and global reports, with 2019 being the second hottest year after 2016.
Watch BBC News coverage of our Reef Rescuers project. Started nearly 10 years ago, the coral reef restoration project, Nature Seychelles' Reef Rescuers project uses the coral gardening method for coral reef restoration. First, corals are grown in underwater nurseries until they reach a size that is suitable for transplantation. Then, the nursery-grown corals are transplanted onto degraded reefs and long-term monitoring of transplantation success is carried out. You can learn more about the Reef Rescuers project on our website: http://natureseychelles.org/what-we-do/coral-reef-restoration