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Seychelles' women, girls and youth learn to transform fish skin to leather 

Victoria, Seychelles | June 6, 2024, Thursday @ 12:10 in Business » FISHERIES | By: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4245
Seychelles' women, girls and youth learn to transform fish skin to leather 

A bag made of fish leather by Ambani's company. (James Ambani)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Women, girls and young entrepreneurs from Seychelles are learning how to process fish skin to use as a type of leather in a three-day training programme at the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) at Providence.

This is the second phase of the training to sensistise women, girls and youth on the economic opportunities in the Blue Economy sector being undertaken by Entreprendre Au Feminin Ocean Indien Seychelles (EFOIS) and COMESA Federation Of Women In Business (COMFWB) Seychelles.

In his address at the opening, Phillippe Michaud, a consultant at the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, said, "Fish leather or fish skin is one of the products which we can use for value addition."

He said this will open avenues for those taking part to open new businesses, make money and help the community and country.

The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is also helping with the training session and Michaud explained that this is in line with the SFA's mandate where people "should not necessarily be fishing more, but making the maximum from what is caught and that includes bycatch."

Around 20 representatives from various local organisations concerned with the fisheries industry are attending the training for trainers sessions. Among the topics they will cover is how to properly slice the fish to remove the skin to use further in fish leather.

The training is facilitated by an expert from Kenya, James Ambani, who is a Blue Economy expert and the chief executive of Ambani Fish Leather Limited.

Ambani Fish Leather uses fish skin to create fashion items such as bags, belts, sandals, and even as part of garments. (James Ambani) Photo License: All Rights Reserved 

Ambani said, "Since I am not too familiar with the type of fish available here, this is also the time to determine what types of fish found in Seychelles will be better suited to turn into leather."

Ambani owns a company, Ambani Fish Leather, that uses fish skin to create fashion items such as bags, belts, sandals, and even as part of garments.

"This is not only for me to share my expertise with those at the session, but it is also a learning curve for me as well," he told SNA.

He said that fashion is an ever changing industry and the latest trend is to look for sustainable ways to do things and "as Seychelles is big on fisheries, this is another way to keep it sustainable and create something of value added to the industry."

The production of fish skin leather is an ancient tradition developed by societies living along rivers and coastlines around the world, such as Alaskan tribes,  Arctic countries, in parts of Siberia as well as Japan and China, and gained particular popularity in the 16th and 17th century in Europe as a luxury product. 

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Tags: COMESA Federation of Women in Business, Ambani Fish Leather Limited

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