Fishing companies donate $151,000 for Seychelles' COVID vaccination effort
The cheque was presented to the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, at State House on Thursday. (State House)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Three foreign companies involved in industrial fishing in the Seychelles' waters made a donation of SCR 3.2 million ($151,000) to help in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination programme expected to roll out early next year.
Representatives of Seaward, Albacora SA and Inpesca SA presented a cheque to the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, at State House on Thursday.
The general manager of Seaward, Selwyn Edmond, told reporters that "the donation we are making today reinforces our appreciation and gratitude to the government and health authority for their support, especially during the month of June when the fleet of both companies faced the infamous crew change difficulties."
The Ministry of Health announced last week that a campaign to inform the public on the COVID vaccination and what to expect will start next month.
More than 120 seafarers mostly from five West African countries -- Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana — tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Seychelles for a crew change for 26 Spanish tuna fishing vessels in June.
Consequently, the vessels were used to quarantine the active cases in a demarcated zone just outside Port Victoria.
Edmond said, "We appreciate all efforts made by the government to sustain the continuity of the fishing industry and recognising it is an important activity for income generation despite the pandemic situation."
The Minister for fisheries, Jean-Francois Ferrari, told SNA that "the message that we can take from the donation is that there is a strong collaboration between the government and the industrial fisheries sector."
"For the past few months, it has been difficult for the fisheries sector. However, the government has remained in communication with the sector to ensure it keeps on functioning," he said.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The sector has been playing a more important role after a downturn in travel severely affected the island nation's tourism industry.
"We have all realised how so interconnected are our continents and our oceans. It has brought us to realise that our relationship is greater than we thought and that we need to consolidate this important partnership," said Edmond.
Moving forward, he added that "we need to work hand in hand for a strategy for Seychelles to benefit more from the blue economy growth by making sustainable use of ocean resources for its economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, food security and health of the ocean ecosystem."
The fisheries minister hopes more people within the industrial fishing sector will come forward with this type of gesture.