Bird eggs reach the market in Seychelles as IDC resumes harvest after skipped season
The speckled egg that is considered a seasonal delicacy enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike is already being harvested by IDC. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The harvesting of the seasonal bird eggs in Seychelles started at the beginning of June and will see the last batch delivered on July 20, the Island Development Company (IDC) has said.
IDC, a parastatal company which manages some of the outer islands of the Indian Ocean archipelago, is the largest supplier of sooty tern eggs, which it collects from Desnoeufs Island.
Considered a delicacy and enjoyed by locals and foreigners alike, the speckled eggs are picked from the birds nests between June and July when the nesting season begins.
In an interview with SNA on Monday, the chief executive of IDC said the eggs are being sold at five rupees each this year (around $0.40) -- the same rate as two years ago.
“A carton that contains six trays each containing 30 eggs cost 900 rupees (around $70) and for a smaller box that contains three trays costs 500 rupees (around $40),” said Glenny Savy.
Desnoeufs Island lies over 200 kilometers southwest of the Seychelles main island of Mahé. In an effort to undertake the harvest in a sustainable manner, IDC decided a few years ago to do the collection every two years instead of annually.
IDC expects to collect 4,000 cartons of bird eggs on Desnoeufs this year, although according to Savy, it is not an activity that yields high profits.
“It is only if we get 3,500 boxes or more that we will be able to make a little profit…but on a good year maybe we are able to make half a million rupees worth of profit,” said Savy.
Commonly known as ‘dizef zwazo’ in the native Creole language, the speckled egg is a delicacy that can be hard-boiled and eaten with a pinch of salt, cooked as an omelet or prepared as a salad.
“Two years ago I got 10 from someone, I did not even know it was already on the market this year. If I am able to have one or two I’ll be happy,” Lucille Mellie told SNA, adding that she has had several opportunities to be among those collecting the eggs a long time ago.
Keven Desaubin on the other hand is looking forward to taste the delicacy once again.
“I usually buy from the shops which get the eggs from IDC. I tend to prepare it in every way possible from salad to curry,” Desaubin said to SNA.
For Alexina Payet reaching home to find a bird’s egg salad already prepared on Sunday has already whet her appetite for more.
“I look forward to having it as it’s not every day that you get to eat the eggs. When it comes to the price though, it’s a bit expensive," Payet said to SNA.
According to IDC’s chief executive the eggs are being sold to everyone but priority is being given to people who placed their orders first in an effort to be fair to everyone.
“As long as the birds eggs is not a resource that is under threat IDC will continue to sustainably harvest the eggs for the general public to enjoy,” said Savy.
The black-backed sooty-terns with white underparts, known as 'Golet' in Creole, can be found throughout tropical regions of the world’s oceans.
It is the most abundant seabird to be found in the Seychelles, with an estimated 3 million pairs, each coming to lay a single egg every year.
Bird Island Lodge, which manages Bird Island located some 100 kilometres from Mahé is the other supplier of the delicacy and also makes available a certain quantity of eggs.