Challenges for fishing sector in Seychelles: lack of manpower, illegal fishing, old technology
Bargain said that the sector is thriving but is facing some challenges, which is stopping it from developing to its full capacity. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - High bank collaterals, a lack of access to fishing technologies, a lack of manpower and illegal fishing were key challenges highlighted during the launching of Seychelles’ new roadmap for the Blue Economy on Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference after a two-day forum on the Blue Economy roadmap, the principal secretary of the Blue Economy Department, Rose-Marie Bargain, said that “this sector is thriving but is facing some challenges, which is stopping it from developing to its full capacity.”
Bargain said that the design of the roadmap “gives us a chance to have a proper insight into the need of the business community in Seychelles.”
Fishing is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
“We have noticed that there is a huge problem in this sector when it comes to getting local manpower and this is largely related to drug abuse, which is especially affecting the younger population,” added Bargain.
She added that another constraint is getting access to fishing technologies and knowledge on how to use them.
The roadmap was launched in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat. The roadmap recognises the potential benefits to be gained through the stimulation of the business environment, private sector engagement, local and international investment, and improvements in education, skills development and employment.
According to the quantitative analysis in the debt management unit of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Howard Haughton said there is a lot of potentials to develop the Blue Economy in Seychelles, but one major constraint is finance.
“What makes it difficult is that the majority of banks are asking for high collaterals before financing any new projects. They also say that fishing is seasonal and the cash flow might be inconsistent. Banks are scared to finance new projects,” said Haughton.
Seychelles has a vast Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.37 million square kilometres, which presents a challenge when it comes to the monitoring of illegal fishing, which adds pressure on the available resources.
Bargain said that despite the challenges the government remains committed to supporting both domestic and foreign investment in this sector. She said that Seychelles is an ideal location to develop ecological and marine base educational institutions.
SNA spoke to two participants at the forum on the Blue Economy.
The owner of a local business -- Marine Investment Resources Seychelles -- Alderic Benoiton, said that discussion over the new roadmap “has helped me to understand how I can grow my business and ways to access finance.”
He said that it has also helped him to know more about the potential of the Blue Economy and how a partnership is important to develop further.
Kalsey Belle, the president of a non-governmental organisation, SIDS Youth Aims Hub (SYAH)-Seychelles, said that she has learned how to better integrate the youth in this sector.
“When we talk of capacity building and developing this sector it largely encompasses the youth. We should find attractive ways to drive them into this sector,” said Belle.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has been a key partner and strong supporter of Seychelles’ Blue Economy. Over the past three years, it has provided Seychelles with technical assistance to develop its Blue Economy roadmap and to facilitate other related projects.