Fisheries minister meets processors, exporters and fishers associations | 21 November 2020
Fisheries and Blue Economy Minister Jean-François Ferrari met with seafood processors and exporters on Tuesday and the fishers association yesterday to formally introduce plans of the new government for the fisheries sector.
Minister Ferrari reiterated that seafood processors, exporters and fishermen are the government’s main partners and stakeholders in this sector and that he is committed to removing red tape, bureaucracy and maintain an open channel of communication.
The meetings were also an opportunity for the fishermen and operators to outline numerous operational challenges they face regularly. For the processors and exporters, most of their challenges have been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with regard to the loss of local market as a result of closure/scaling down of tourism establishments and loss of export markets as a result of lockdown in Asian and European markets which have all caused a decrease in demand for fish and seafood products.
- High cost of utilities that erode away a large chunk of their revenue and consequently reduce their competitiveness in the market,
- Exorbitantly high freight rates from local and international airlines,
- Issues with land allocation,
- Lack of support and encouragement in the semi-industrial sub-sector to market and promote the value of demersal fish in overseas markets,
- Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is still a major concern because processors and exporters cannot accept fish from these vessels,
- Access to financing remains a lengthy and complicated process, and
- Coordination between the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) and other concerned authorities needs to be improved.
For the fishermen and boat owners, similar issues were raised with particular attention on:
- Personal income tax for fishermen,
- Possibility of allowing gainful occupation permit (GOP) for foreign workers in demersal fishing,
- Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) by vessels that do not have a fishing license,
- Loan repayment during this economic crisis, and
- Audit by SFA to identify active fishermen in all sub-sectors.
Minister Ferrari said there are issues that can be dealt with in the immediate, however, most problems brought forward require long term solutions that can only be discussed and implemented after consulting with different partners.
However, the minister has assured all partners that the government will provide them all the support necessary to navigate through this turbulent time.
Press release & photo from the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy