Fishing authority to observe yellowfin tuna stock in Seychelles’ waters until March
File Photo: Tuna uploading in the Seychelles' Port Victoria. (Seychelles Fishing Authority)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has yet to implement measures to achieve the 15 percent reduction in yellowfin tuna catch, but will be monitoring reports from vessels up to the end of March, says an officer of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).
Set to start at the beginning of 2017, the decision to reduce fishing allowances of yellowfin tuna by 15 percent using 2014 levels was taken by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) in June last year.
Before implementing any measures, the local fishing authority is meeting with stakeholders to discuss the best way to be in conformity with the IOTC decision.
The chief fisheries officer at SFA, Vincent Lucas, said, “We expressed to IOTC that we will be at a disadvantage if we use the base year 2014, as we had 8 vessels then and currently have 13 vessels. We recommended that we use 2015 as the base year.”
Lucas said that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has agreed to have weekly reports from vessels on yellowfin catch that will be monitored until the end of March.
“By the end of March we will have some statistics, and from there we will discuss measures that we will put in place once we are reaching the limit,” said Lucas.
The SFA officer said that January is a good month for catching yellowfin but if that is not the case this year, there might not be the need to implement any measures.
The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) announced last year that yellowfin tuna was being over-exploited following a report of the Scientific Committee.
In the meeting on Thursday, stakeholders agreed to implement if necessary one of the measures to curtail the fishing of yellowfin tuna which is reducing the number of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD) on a vessel.
|The meeting of stakeholders on Thursday. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
Speaking to SNA, Jose Luis Jaurregui Iriarte, director of Fleet Operation at Hartswater Limited said that reducing the FAD is a more appropriate measure than having to stop vessels from fishing.
“Stopping the fleet [from fishing] is too aggressive and will cost us a huge amount of money,” Iriarte said.
In 2016, the number of FAD was reduced from 500 to 425 units per vessel and Lucas said that it resulted in a reduction in yellowfin. If there is the need, it will be reduced further to 361.
Juan Pablo Rodrigues-Sahagun, the managing director of National Association of Tuna Freezer Vessel Shipowners (ANABAC) in Spain, told SNA that, “Seychelles’ economy is going to be affected if we stop the vessels. They are not going to generate revenue and work for Seychellois.”
Fishing is the second pillar of the Seychelles’ economy. There are 14 purse seiners flying the nation’s flag.
Artisanal fishing is not affected by the new rules as these measures apply to vessels that are more than 24 metres long.