Adapting to industry change, Seychelles expanding port capacity to attract long-line fishermen
Currently, the net repair quay at Ile du Port is 120 metres in length. (Betymie Bonnelame, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles' fisheries ministry is looking into the possibility of attracting industrial long-liners by extending an existing port that could provide services to this section of the industry.
The Cabinet of Ministers approved the extension of the existing net repair quay at Zone 14, Ile du Port on the outskirts of the capital Victoria, to accommodate long line vessels and to provide land for its associated land base facilities.
The principal secretary for fisheries, Jude Talma, told SNA that "ports in Seychelles are already saturated and with 40 long-liners operating from Port Victoria, as well as cargo vessels, it is difficult to access the port, a problem that purse seiners also share."
He explained that this proposal was made to ease this problem and as "we learned that the dynamics of transhipment of long-liners are gradually changing Seychelles needs to start preparing itself to carry out this activity."
Talma said the ministry has learned that there is a decrease in transhipment in reefer containers at sea and an increase in transhipment in containers in port. There is also a demand for fish that have been transhipped in containers at port.
He explained that there is less fish handling when transhipped is made at port than at sea, which means there is less fluctuation in temperature, resulting in better quality of fish.
Currently, the net repair quay at Ile du Port is 120 metres in length. The ministry would like to extend the port by 60 metres towards the sea and 120 metres towards land, which will give a total of 300 metres altogether.
"Just building a port alone will not attract long-liners. We will need to create land-based facilities such as a container bay - a place where containers can be placed, into which fish will be unloaded, plugin, and then export or for processing - which requires land. We will also need a fuelling area," said Talma.
The land on which net repair is being carried on belongs to the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) and is 34,000 square meters in size. To free up some of this land for the eventual construction of land-based facilities for long-liners, the authority is evaluating the net repair facility so that it is better managed.
He said that once a port with logistic facilities is created, there will be an interest in fish processing. Talma outlined that there are proposals that have been submitted to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) to process fish coming from long-line vessels.
A committee bringing together representatives from economic planning, Blue Economy, SIB, SFA, the Seychelles Port Authority, the ports and marine ministry, as well as the fisheries ministry has been set up. This committee will decide the way forward on how the project is going to be implemented and how it will be funded among other decisions.