Principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, in a press conference held on Tuesday explained that prior to reaching an agreement with the purse seiners last month, there was a lack of legal provisions to regulate and ensure adherence to obligations within the jurisdiction, including those imposed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
“Under the agreement what we negotiated include the parameters that they can fish under, conditions for fishing, where to land their catch and the authorisations that they need to formally request from SFA for instance if they are to unload at ports outside of Seychelles. There are provisions to ensure that they supply our local processing plants including the Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) and other processing plants dealing in bycatch, and also to ensure supply for future processors. These are some of the provisions to ensure that we are supporting our local industries,” PS Clarisse noted.
PS Clarisse further noted that the vessels were not breaking any laws but that the legal provisions are essential as the responsibility of a flagged state as stipulated by international Conventions.
“We have started with our own vessels, but we have a series of agreements, for instance with Mauritius, and we are in the process of renewing these agreements and keeping them abreast of the latest developments,” he added.
In addition to the new set of regulations, the ministry has also revised the license fees for these vessels, as the last revision was in 2009. Prior to the agreement, Seychelles-flagged purse seiner vessels were paying USD ($) 90,000 to fish in Seychelles’ waters, and an authorisation fee of $500 for fishing outside the jurisdiction annually. With the agreement, the initial license fee is to increase from the $90,000 to EURO (€) 115,000, and the authorisation fee from $500 annually to €5000. Therefore, in total, the license fee component amounts to €120,000 annually.
It must be noted that European Union (EU) purse seiner vessels also had their license fees increased as per the agreement reached in 2020.