Bel Ombre Artisanal Fishing Port project - EU satisfied with way funds are being used


A delegation from the European Union (EU) have expressed satisfaction with progress on a fisheries project at Bel Ombre financed by the EU, saying that the money is being wisely used. 

The EU delegation, led by João Aguiar Machado, director general for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, yesterday visited the four fish processing units financed under the EU sector support of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

The project is in its final stage of construction.

The delegation also viewed the extension to the fish landing shed also financed under the same fund. The delegation also seized the opportunity to have a brief dialogue on site with members of the Bel Ombre Fishermen Association.

The delegation was accompanied by Michael Nalletamby, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, as well as other officials from the ministry and from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) including its chairperson Philippe Michaud.

After the visit, Mr Aguiar Machado commented: “The project is quite impressive and it is advancing well. It is the first time I have come to see what kind of support the EU is giving to the Seychelles fishermen. Our relationship with the Seychelles is very important and the local fishermen should not be put aside. We need to promote local artisanal fishing. For the Bel Ombre project a sum of R9 million has been granted by the EU and I totally agree that the money has been put to use wisely.”

Mr Michaud noted that “it is a big encouragement to hear that the EU is happy with us. Once the four units are completed, we will announce to the public so that people will be able to make an offer to operate the units. The EU is also helping in various projects such as the markets at Anse Royale, Cascade, La Digue and Praslin. The EU also granted us a total of 14 million euros to implement projects geared towards improving facilities for fishing activities. ”

The Bel Ombre Fishermen Association has a membership of 50 fishermen, of whom forty are active. Its vice-president, Michel Commettant, noted that “fishing is a major part of our district. Currently there is no organised system for fishermen to sell their fish. Some sell to hotels, to major fishing organisations and some go to the market. The developments that are happening are good for us but we have noticed that there is no set plan for the development of this piece of reclaimed land which we call ‘La terre promise’. We hope that there will be an integration of all the new projects to avoid clash. As we all know, this port at Bel Ombre was mainly for fishermen, but now there is an invasion of leisure boats. Our association wants the government to designate this area as a fishing port and also have someone to ensure that the laws are respected. Even the tender process with regard to using this area after its completion, we hope that it will be done with transparency.”

Following the comment from the fishermen association, Mr Michaud stated that “the fishermen are raising a real concern and we will work together to find solutions and establish regulations in order to have a proper management of the area”.

After the visit at Bel Ombre, the delegation headed to Providence to visit the processing plant.

The EU delegation comprised Ambassador Marjaana Sall, Christian Rambaud (head of Unit, Trade Negotiations and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements), Dg Mare, Alan Gray (Desk Officer, Trade Negotiations and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements) and Denis Reiss (Fisheries Attaché, EU Delegation, Mauritius).

The accompanying photos show the delegation during their visit at Bel Ombre yesterday. 







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