Seychelles Fishing Authority vigilant against illegal fishers of small emperor red snappers
This comes after several reports of fishermen selling emperor red snappers that are below the length of 32cm. (Seychelles Fishing Authority)
The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is asking fishermen to respect the size limit that it has imposed on certain species of fish, a top official said on Monday.
This comes after several reports of fishermen selling emperor red snappers that are below the length of 32cm, which is the minimum length of the fish that is allowed to be caught and sold.
"In the last three months, we have had about three or four cases of these fish being sold at local fish markets and we want the public to be aware of this and not buy these fishes, otherwise, the fishermen will continue to catch them," said Roddy Allisop, the monitoring and surveillance manager at the SFA.
Allisop told reporters that these cases have mainly been at La Retraite, Au Cap, and Anse Aux Pins on the main island of Mahe and these cases are being dealt with and the necessary legal action is being undertaken.
The ban on fishing emperor red snapper below the length of 32 cm is part of the restrictions imposed under the Fisheries (Mahe Plateau Trap and Line Fishery) Regulations 2021.
SFA said that there are ongoing investigations on three separate cases of such illegal fishing in contravention of the fisheries regulation 2021.
"Breaches of any of these regulations carry a fine of up to SCR20,000 ($1,541). In cases involving commercial fishers, in addition to a fine, other penalties may include suspension or revocation of a fishing licence and prohibition from operating any fishing vessel in Seychelles," said SFA's legal adviser, Yannick Roucou.
The ban was put in place from October 1 in 2022, a year after a study showed that the average catch rate - catch-per-unit-effort - across nine target species groups had decreased by 65 percent since the early 1990s.
The catch rate of snappers reduced from around 36 kilos per day in 1994 to 16 kilos per day in 2016. Likewise, the jobfish catch rate had dropped from 45 kilos per day in 1990 to 24 kilos per day in 2016.
The evidence of overfishing prompted the introduction of measures proposed in the Mahe Plateau Trap and Line Fishery Co-management Plan to improve the sustainability of the fish stocks.
Meanwhile, the SFA said that further studies will be done in regard to fish stock inside the Mahe Plateau, where there could be further restrictions announced in 2024.
Allisop added that after the next study, size restrictions could also be added to new species as well.