Aquaculture monitoring: World Bank-backed training for Seychelles' fisheries experts
The training is to develop marine ecological monitoring capacity within the Aquaculture Department of the Seychelles Fishing Authority. (Aubrey Lesperance)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The World Bank is supporting a group of Seychelles' fisheries experts to build capacity and increase knowledge in marine environmental monitoring for aquaculture through a training exercise.
The recently completed training, initiated by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), was aimed at supporting both the government and private sector in aquaculture development, promoting environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient aquaculture development.
It is furthermore intended to support the SFA in undertaking its regulatory mandate to monitor and control the ecological impacts of this fisheries sector.
The principal aquaculture officer at the SFA, Aubrey Lesperance, told SNA that the three-week session also covered specialist training on fish health, broodstock management, standards and certification for export, mitigation and management, environmental impacts and their mitigation. The training was attended by technicians from the Aquaculture Department and the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority.
"The training is to develop marine ecological monitoring capacity within the Aquaculture Department of the Seychelles Fishing Authority. The development of ecological monitoring capacity will support the SFA' s capacity to support an ecosystems approach to aquaculture development, enable it to fulfill its regulatory mandate to monitor the environmental impacts accruing to aquaculture development, and design and implement appropriate monitoring and mitigation measures," explained Lesperance.
|The three-week session covered several aspects of aquaculture including specialist training. (Aubrey Lesperance) Photo License: CC-BY
Aquaculture is a relatively new sector in Seychelles, 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
According to Lesperance, a cornerstone of the Seychelles' government policy to promote the mariculture sector in Seychelles is the adoption of an Ecosystems Approach to Aquaculture development. The approach focuses on integrating aquaculture development within the wider ecosystem to promote sustainable development, equity, and resilience of interlinked socio-ecological systems.
A mariculture master plan for Seychelles started in 2007, and the government decided 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 was aimed at helping to reduce pressure on the fisheries sector, the second-largest 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. Located in the industrial zone on the east of the main island of Mahe, the facility - the first of its kind on the islands - was funded by the European Union.
In December 2022, six local investors received their licences for research and development, hatchery and nursery, and production in the aquaculture sector, inching Seychelles closer to reducing its importation of certain seafood and allowing for more exportation of certain species.
The issuing of the very first licences was seen as a significant milestone in Seychelles' second economic pillar - fisheries - and once aquaculture is in full swing, the island nation will be able to implement import substitution.
"This will allow us to replace products that are being imported with locally produced ones. This will allow us to keep the forex that would otherwise go out of the country. The natural resources that we have are currently under pressure. Through aquaculture, we will also be able to relieve this pressure to an extent," said the Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy, Jean Francois Ferrari, when the licenses were presented.