Applications now open as Seychelles embraces a new industry: aquaculture
According to SFA there are a dozen local investors who have expressed interest to venture into the sector. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Private and foreign investors in Seychelles interested in aquaculture can now apply for a license after the sector was officially launched on Saturday.
Coinciding with World Food Day, the sector was launched at the Eden Bleu Hotel. A new website www.seychellesaquaculture.com explains how to apply for a licence.
The head of the aquaculture department at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Aubrey Lesperance, said informal discussions have been held with potential investors.
"We could not entertain the applications prior to the launch but this is now possible, and we are inviting the private investors to go to our website for more information about the types of licenses they want as well as do the necessary registration procedures with the Seychelles Investment Bureau. This will allow the SFA then to consider their applications," he said.
The Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, described the launch as an exciting journey showing that Seychelles is ready to embark on a new milestone in its development.
Ferrari said that aquaculture was one of the fastest growing global industries, and presently accounts for supplying 51 percent of all fish consumed in the world.
"Our oceans can't keep up with this demand and aquaculture is the only way that this demand can be met. In this way, aquaculture supports our global fisheries," he added.
According to SFA there are a dozen local investors who have expressed interest to venture into the sector and some of them were present at Saturday's ceremony.
One businessman, Gonzague Dailoo, who has been doing crab farming for the past 25 years, said he hopes the aquaculture sector will thrive and he hopes Seychelles will take a more organic approach to aquaculture.
"Ten years into this activity I noticed that the number of crabs from the marshland was reducing so it was then that I decided to focus on crab farming. I am glad that this will now be open for other potential businesses in Seychelles to relieve pressure on some marine species. It is a good initiative and better late than never," said Dailoo
Lesperance said that the journey to develop the Seychelles Aquaculture Sector has been a long one but was worth every minute.
A mariculture master plan for Seychelles started in 2007 and the government made a decision to develop the plan in 2011 as part of its plan to diversify the economy of the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The plan is to help reduce pressure on the fisheries sector, the second top contributor to the Seychelles' economy after tourism.
The opening of a broodstock, acclimation and quarantine facility at the Providence Fishing Port in 2019 marked the opening of the industry in the island nation.
Lesperance said that the government's decision to adhere to an Ecosystems Approach to Aquaculture development was not taken lightly and investors should take note when applying.
"We believe firmly in its triple-bottom-line approach which looks at not only the economic benefits that could be generated but also considers the environmental and social aspects. That being said, investors, are being encouraged to take note of this important factor when considering investing in aquaculture in Seychelles", said Lesperance.
He said that the key priorities over the next five years are for the SFA as the regulatory authority along with the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) to drive investments in sustainable aquaculture in Seychelles.
Other than local investors, the SFA has also initiated discussions with countries that have shown interest including South Africa, United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, and France. Lesperance said that in 2015/16, SFA officials also carried out market trips in potential markets in China, Hong Kong, and Japan to see the species in demand.
"There are interests but our marketing needs to be targeted, strategic and coordinated, with the participation of other stakeholders such as foreign affairs and the Seychelles Investment Bureau so that we can attract the right investors," explained Lesperance.
In line with this, the SFA team will be travelling to Dubai next Friday for the Dubai 2020 Expo where they plan to hold various presentations to attract foreign investors.