Praslin fishery management plan drafted as Seychelles steps up management of ocean resources
Seychellois fishermen bringing in their catch at Beau Vallon bay on Mahe island. A draft coastal fishery management plan for Praslin island has been completed as a first step to formulate a national fishery management plan for the whole of the Mahé plateau (Gerard Larose, STB)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles fisheries authorities together with the Praslin island fishermen community are working together to ensure that the various fish species considered to be the main source of nutrition for the Seychelles population of around 90, 000 people, is well managed to ensure sustainable exploitation for the future generations.
A pilot project to draft a coastal fishery management plan for Seychelles second most populated island of Praslin is now complete and awaiting approval by the Cabinet of Ministers before it can be implemented.
The project undertaken jointly by the Fishermen’s Association on the island, the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under a Global Environment Fund sponsorship, is only the first step to see if a bigger and more ambitious one to formulate a national fishery management plan for the whole of the Mahé plateau can be implemented.
In an interview, SFA’s Jude Bijoux told SNA that the Praslin pilot project looked at the sustainability of fishery being practiced around the coasts of the island situated some 45 km from the main Seychelles island of Mahé, and focused mainly on trap fishing.
The project studied aspects such as the stock of those fish species caught by trap fishing, through the monitoring of the catch, the number of traps laid and the area in which they are put among others.
“It is fast becoming clear that we need to manage our fisheries in Seychelles be it along the coast or further out, if it is to last well into the future. Actually there is increasing pressure on the fish stock and there is the danger of over fishing of some species,” said Bijoux.
He added that one species, the “cordonier” (Rabbit fish) is among those caught in traps which need attention.
|The Rabbit Fish among other fish at the Victoria Market, SFA says the Rabbit fish is among those caught in traps which need attention (Gerard Larose, STB ) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Before people used to go out to fish in their pirogues, so this limited the area they could cover as it is hard work to row a pirogue very far. Nowadays there are new technologies and new fishing techniques. With an outboard machine, a fisherman can go further than he did in the old days and catch more fish, so we need to have some form of control.”
Bijoux explained that even the fishermen themselves had approached SFA with their concern about what they have seen to be diminishing number of fish in their catch and the need to manage the stock in a responsible and sustainable manner.
“This is why we did this in an inclusive manner where all the stakeholders are involved, be it the fishermen, the consumer and us as a regulatory body. Sustainable fisheries is a joint and shared responsibility.”
After the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the plan and the Seychelles National Assembly approves the “Fisheries Bill” then its implementation will start.
The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands, has a total land area of 455 km² spread over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.3 million square km, an EEZ slightly larger than South Africa and about six times the size of the United Kingdom.
No surprise that fishing is one of the main activities among the islanders, fishing is in fact the second pillar of the economy after tourism.
Fisheries accounts for an income of $370 million yearly into the Seychelles economy, according to statistics from the Seychelles Fishing Authority.