New three-year fisheries comprehensive plan launched | 06 August 2019
R78 million to be spent on regional facilities
Artisanal fishermen in Seychelles are to benefit from improved facilities in their respective regions through a three-year comprehensive plan drawn up by the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MFA).
Following a series of consultations with the artisanal fisheries sector, the ministry unveiled the new plan in a brief ceremony held at the Pomme Canelle Restaurant, Au Cap on Sunday.
Present to launch the plan to fishermen who turned up in numbers was the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture Charles Bastienne who outlined some of the provisions of the plan and the benefits that it will afford to artisanal fishermen.
“It is our plan as it has been a pleasure and honour to work with you in the past months whereby you have put forward significant contributions that are both important and valuable,” the minister said.
“The aim of the plan is to continue developing and sustaining the fisheries sector, the second pillar of our economy. The ministry, together with the Seychelles Fisheries Authority (SFA), seeks to address the challenges that you put forward during our meetings as to what is impacting negatively on the industry and limiting its development,” Minister Bastienne said.
The plan covers all aspects of the sector and outlines several new requirements for artisanal fishermen and artisanal fishing boat-owners alike.
As from 2020, all fishing boats need to be registered with the Seychelles Maritime and Safety Authority (SMSA). Furthermore, all individuals engaging in commercial fishing will be required to have a commercial fishing boat license as well as a commercial fishing license.
It will also be mandatory that all fishing boats are to be classified based on size and the type of activity it is engaged in. Each boat is to have a clearly displayed code to allow SFA to better manage fishing boats in the country.
The new plan also makes provision for leisure fishing, a concern raised by many during the consultation process. Recreational and leisure boats will now require a fishing license and they are not permitted to sell their catch unless permission has been sought in advance from SFA to donate the catch.
The ministry has also revised the definition of commercial fishing to “fishing activities for at least 16 days a month during the season with north-westerly winds and 12 days a month during the south-easterlies. Therefore, individuals who do not meet the stated number of days each season is not considered as commercial fishing.
In a bid to promote sustainability of marine species relied upon by artisanal fishermen, the comprehensive plan makes provisions for the ministry and SFA to intensify their work to control and eradicate illegal fishing through a programme to reward fishermen who report illegal fishing activities resulting in successful prosecution. Following prosecution, illegal fishing boats will be destroyed.
The plan consists of numerous other provisions geared at improving conditions for artisanal fishermen. It lays out an ambitious plan totalling in at R78 million for numerous projects including ice plants, jetties, places to moor fishing boats in different regions including Glacis, Anse Etoile, Cascade and Baie St Anne, Praslin.
According to details provided by special advisor to the minister, Roy Clarisse, some projects are due to commence as from this year while others will be completed by 2022.
Seychelles NATION spoke to numerous fishermen present for the presentation and while many approved of the provisions outlined in the plan, many were also apprehensive as to whether the ministry and concerned authorities can deliver on the provisions and within the stated timeframe.