(Seychelles Nation 1.7.2021) The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) has reported that it has seized a total of 20kg of 98 different species of juvenile sharks caught illegally through fishing nets by three local fishermen. Speaking to the media at SFA’s Providence Fishing Port, Roddy Allisop, SFA’s assistant manager for monitoring, said that the three Seychellois fishermen were caught red-handed by the SFA inspecting team who was on a routine patrol on the morning of June 17, 2021.
(Seychelles Nation 26 June 2021) Two foreign fishing vessels have been intercepted on suspicion of fishing illegally in Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This was in a coordinated operation carried out by the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG), Seychelles Air Force (SAF), Special Forces Unit (SFU) and the National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre (NISCC).
(Seychelles News Agency) - The National Assembly has approved the ratification of a bilateral agreement with the United States which supporters say will help increase surveillance capabilities in Seychelles' waters.
(Seychelles Nation 20.5.21): Eight Chinese fishing vessels have been grounded at Port Victoria after they illegally anchored themselves in our territorial waters on Friday last week. Last Friday authorities found out there were several ships who weren’t identifiable anchored near Providence island.
(Seychelles Nation 8.5.21) The Seychelles Coastguard (SCG) has intercepted two dhows suspected to have been fishing illegally in Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The two fishing dhows were spotted in Seychelles’ EEZ on Tuesday this week during a routine patrol by the Seychelles Air Force aircraft.
(Seychelles Nation 22.4.21) To better accomplish its mission which is ensure optimal use of the fisheries resources for the benefit of the Seychellois people through sustainable management, the Seychelles Fishing Authority has come up with new guidelines which will better administer the practice of semi-industrial fishing locally.
A Fish Aggregating Device or FAD was found recently on the reef of the Cousin Island Special Reserve, which is a highly protected, no-take reserve. This was found when the staff were retrieving temperature loggers in the marine protected area. This is not the first time that FADS from the tuna purse seining fleet have been found on Cousin.
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.