Aquaculture industry, delayed by COVID, to come online in Seychelles later this year
The aquaculture regulations have been gazetted since December 2020. (Rassin Vanier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An Aquaculture Regulatory Committee, which will be the main body to review and recommend aquaculture license applications in Seychelles, is expected to be set up in preparation for the launch of this new industry later this year.
The committee will also decide actions to be taken against non-adherence of the regulations and standards of the sector, said the aquaculture principal officer.
Aubrey Lesperance told SNA recently that the Aquaculture Department of the Seychelles Fishing Authority is finalising its administrative procedures and documentation in preparation for the tentative launch of the sector in a few months after consultations with the Ministry for Fisheries and the Blue Economy.
“The aquaculture regulations have been gazetted since December 2020 and are now going to receive a commencement date to enable them to become effective sometime in the third quarter of 2021. The exact date will be announced soon by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy,” explained Lesperance.
The officer added that “the regulations have been developed to ensure that the sector develops in line with the Seychelles National Aquaculture Policy 2018-2021 and the global best practices. Licenses will be guided by the Aquaculture Regulations 2020 and a set of accompanying Standards which will be updated and amended regularly to ensure that operators adhere to the best management practices as prescribed."
|An example of a fish farm. (Richard Gould/flickr) Photo License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0|
There have been some further delays in the development of the sector because of the continued restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the reason being that a launch of the sector was expected to attract investors from local and international markets as well,” said Lesperance.
Lesperance added that “the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has meant that potential investors interested may have been slowed down and hence this has meant that the decision to launch the sector has been pushed further along.”
Aquaculture is a new industry in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean. The industry is targeting new and existing local entrepreneurs and business owners who want to venture into the new sector to diversify their business portfolio.
Industrial aquaculture got the first boost in October 2019, when the Seychelles Fishing Authority opened a broodstock, acclimation and quarantine facility at the Providence Fishing Port. The facility – the first of its kind on the islands - was funded by the European Union under the fisheries sectoral fund.
It is to ensure that mature breeding stock, otherwise known as broodstock, are well cared for, can adjust to captive conditions, spawn and produce good numbers of high-quality eggs with greater longevity.
Christopher Lespoir of Harmony Investment is one Seychellois who has taken the opportunity and ventured into aquaculture. With funding from the Seychelles Climate Change Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), Lespoir has started experimental operations to breed sea cucumbers.
|The entrepreneur said overall his venture is to ensure the wild stock of sea cucumbers does not deplete and that the species is exploited more sustainably. (Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center Aquaculture Department/flickr) Photo License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0|
“The project is to explore how we can use adult broodstock of sea cucumber and produce juveniles, grow them and send them back to the wild or leave them in a tank where we can eventually commercially produce them,” explained Lespoir.
Lespoir added that he is using the broodstock facility for this purpose and at the same time he is using the experiment to train some young Seychellois, whom he hopes can be absorbed in the industry, once it officially comes into operation.
The entrepreneur said overall his venture is to ensure the wild stock of sea cucumbers does not deplete and that the species is exploited more sustainably.