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SMA to raise maritime courses to higher level | 16 June 2020

SMA to raise maritime courses to higher level

Dr Barallon and PS Talma exchanging documents after the signing (Photo: Thomas Meriton)

The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), through its European funding, has committed R10 million for the construction of a new building housing extra classes, including a simulator room, laboratories, among other equipment and teaching aids for the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA).

The academy will also be offering a new diploma level course in long line fishing as from 2021 among other courses in the fishing sector.

SMA is currently offering Advance Certificate and Certificate level courses in relation to maritime training.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday between SMA, SFA, the Ministry of Fisheries & Agriculture (MFA) and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) to hoist the level of training courses offered at the academy for both students and those already working in the fishing industry.

The MoU signing was held in small ceremony at SMA’s premises, Providence.

It was the principal secretary for Fisheries, Jude Talma, the principal secretary for Tertiary Education and Human Resource Development Dr Linda Barallon, the chairman of SFA board of directors Cyril Bonnelame and the chairman of the SMA board of directors Conrad Benoiton who signed the MoU in the presence of the Minister for Fisheries & Agriculture Charles Bastienne, the Minister for Education and Human Resource Development Jeanne Simeon.

Also present were the director of SMA, Captain Aruna Kotelawala, other board members, MEHRD representatives, SMA staff and students. The exchange of documents was between Mr Talma and Dr Barallon.

The objectives of the MoU are to improve capacity gaps in the fishing industry by providing financial, infrastructural and technical assistance to SMA, to identify and outline the capacity needs to deliver the required training courses and to improve existing capacity in the industry to meet international requirements in terms of safety at sea, engineering, navigation, long line fishing technique and post-harvest handling.

All training programmes will be funded by SFA and conducted by SMA.

The signing of the MoU came as a result of the close working relation between the two ministries, SFA and SMA which was followed by the visit of Minister Bastienne at the post-secondary institution last month, to identify existing gaps in regards to facilities and training.

PS Talma said that the MoU will answer the outcry of our fishing sector that there are not enough young people joining the industry and also few Seychellois are in the long line fishing business as compared to expats.

He also said that it will answer to SMA’s challenges to deliver specific training courses with regard to long line fishing because of lack of facilities and equipment in that domain, among other issues.

Apart from the new building with advance technology in the form a simulator for navigation, fishing techniques and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) trainings, PS Talma stated that SFA will also provide SMA with mooring pontoons as well as two boats for long line fishing training.

He also stated that four Seychellois long line fishing professionals will also be teaching part-time to students and other outside applicants in long line fishing.

He noted that the MoU will also cater for training, under European requirement, for people wanting to work on foreign purse seiners.

“Looking forward, we have ambitious plan to continue to work in harmony with SMA and the industry to provide the necessary support to meet the SMA’s needs and in doing so fulfill the industry’s requirement,” PS Talma said.

Mr Benoiton said that SMA had up till now put much effort on domestic fisheries techniques and that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has shown our fishing sector the missed opportunities in relation to advance fishing and labour.

He noted that funding by SFA to raise the level of training at SMA to a diploma level including the simulator programme, will increase the interest of the students to stay in their predilection of fisheries courses as chosen career.

He noted that the new building facility, with the simulator programme, will be at par with the highest fisheries training platforms in any other country.

Mr Kotelawala said the collaboration demonstrates the common desire to promote Seychellois in the local and international fishing industry, through providing training to the highest international standard.

He noted that the MoU will no doubt strengthen the capacity of the youth of Seychelles and the Seychelles fishing industry.

 

Patrick Joubert

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