Fishing authority steps up patrol to curb illegal practices


26-July-2012

The authority has said it will not hesitate to take punitive measures against those who do not adhere to the regulations.

This comes in the wake of numerous complaints from licensed fishermen that individuals, divers who are clients of dive centres, and other non-licensed amateur divers have been tempering with their fishing gears namely net, trap and other fishing gears found in Seychelles waters.

The SFA says in a communiqué that under the Fisheries Act, Chapter 82 (subsidiary) Article 23, it is an offence to temper with such fishing gears.

Article 23 stipulates the following: “No person shall remove, damage, disturb or remove any fish or other aquatic organism from any net, trap, line, fish aggregating device or other fishing gear found in Seychelles waters, except for the purpose of restoring lost gear to its rightful owner”.

Any person who contravenes this regulation is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine of SR10,000.  “Under the same Fisheries Act (subsidiary) the SFA would like  to bring to the attention of net licensees , that article 11 forbids any license net fisher to place any net in any channel in such a way as to obstruct the passes . This situation has been reported by certain fishermen who have encountered such situation in some access channels,” says the communiqué.

As for mackerel net, no person shall engage in fishing for mackerel by using a net at any time before 5am or after 4pm on any day. This is in accordance to the Fisheries Act, Article 16 (A) subsidiary.

The SFA says it is issuing these warning as it will soon be stepping up its coastal patrol and any person caught not adhering to the Fisheries Act will be liable for an offence under the law and will have to face the consequences as stipulated under the Act.

Others tempering with fishing gears of licensed fishermen will have to face the same consequences.

Another complaint received by the SFA lately is that some divers have been diving without a license (an approved dive certificate from a qualified dive centre) and an authorisation certificate from the SFA to collect sea cucumber by diving. This practice is not permitted.

Now that the sea cucumber harvesting season is closed, the SFA is reminding all those who may be involved in the sea cucumber fishery to ensure that in future all their divers must have a valid diving license  and an authorisation certificate from the SFA.

Furthermore, there are reports of some non-certified divers poaching sea cucumber. Most critical is that some of the divers are diving much deeper than the recommended depth, which is very risky and dangerous to divers themselves.

“This may result in decompression sickness which could severely affect the health of the individual, and also putting much pressure on the health services. The result of such sickness can even render the individual handicapped, and lately, there have been some cases when divers have had to be treated by means of a decompression chamber, a service which is not readily available in the country and is very costly,” notes the communiqué.

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