Management Plan for demersal fishery in Seychelles |11 November 2014
Fishermen, Boat Owners Association, businesses, partners and stakeholders involved in demersal fishery are meeting to contribute in the development of the management plan for this type of fishery. Two workshops for the purpose have been organised: the first one was held at the Seychelles Fishing Authority’s training room and the second at the Baie Ste Anne Baha’i Centre.
This second series of workshops is vital as stakeholders will work to draft and define the purpose, goals, objectives, management approach of the management plan. The workshop is being facilitated by two Australian consultants from C₂O Fisheries of Australia, David Welch and Brigid Kerrigan.
The draft plan should be submitted by February 2015.
www.nation.sc brings you a more detailed version of the plan – why the fishery sector needs one and what exactly it entails.
A fishery management plan is to achieve specified management goals for a fishery. It includes data, analyses and management measures for a fishery.
Why do we need a fishery management plan?
There are various reasons why the different stakeholders in a fishery would want a fishery management plan. Some may be more concerned with the status of the resource while others may be more interested with the ecosystem changes resulting from fishing. Yet, other stakeholders may be more interested with the socio-economic contribution of the fishery such as food security, employment and job security or in reducing conflicts among different resource users. The fishery management plan that will result from this process will have multiple objectives covering resource, ecosystem as well as the socio-economic goals.
The Management Plan
The management plan for the Mahe Plateau fishery for demersal fish resources will be the reference document agreed by all stakeholders (fishermen, boat owners,managers, NGOs, etc). It will clearly outline its purpose, goals and key objectives as well as the reference points and indicators against which the objectives will be assessed. Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) plan will be prepared to ensure that agreed decision control rules are effectively enforced.
Te management plan for the Mahe Plateau fishery for demersal fish resources aims to:
- Ensure the long term sustainability of the resource, and rebuild stocks as required including the introduction of specific management measures, and to explore areas beyond management, and promote co-management.
- Optimise the social and economic benefits of fishing to the people of Seychelles, and ensure safety of fishermen at sea.
- Minimize impact on the reef ecosystem.
Whilst maintain the cultural, recreational and tourism aspect of fishing in Seychelles, the objectives of the management plan for the Mahe plateau fishery for demersal fish resources will be to:
- Ensure stocks are fished sustainably
- Ensure maximum employment in the sector
- Rebuild stocks which are overfished
- Promote the economic stability and realise the potential the fishery
- Minimize impacts on the reef ecosystem
- Ensure safety at sea
- Introduce specific management measures, explore area bound management, and promote co-management
Main species being targeted includes:
- Jog fish
- Rabbit fish
The scope of the plan will include fishing activities that evolve artisanal, sport and recreational fishing and target reef areas, and their catch of demersal species on the Mahe Plateau.
The Mahe Plateau
The Mahe Plateau (or Seychelles Bank) forms the northern portion of the Mascarene Ridge. The Plateau measures approximately 40,000 km², is of granitic origin and a fragment of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana. Water depth over the plateau goes down to 70m and most areas are fished by the local artisanal fishing fleets. Habitat distribution on the plateau is poorly known.
Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA)
Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) for effects of fishing is a procedure for identifying and prioritising the risks posed tom marine ecosystems by commercial fisheries.
The Ecological Risk Assessment involves the participation of people, including fishermen, boat owners, sport fishing enthusiasts and recreational fishermen who are knowledgeable on different aspects of the demersal fishery, the various species that are caught, fishing locations, fishing techniques, etc...
Ecological Risk Assessment fall in-line with the principles of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries which is being promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
The Fishery Management Plan is based on the outcomes of the Ecological Risk Assessment undertaken in the framework of elaborating the plan. The ERA determines the level of risk to the ecological sustainability of the key target species and many other areas of fishing. It will lay the foundation onto which the management of our demersal fishery will be based.
Links with other national initiatives
The Blue Economy (BE) is a development concept pioneered by small island developing states (SIDS) which focuses on maximising revenue from marine goods and services while ensuring that marine spaces are sustainably managed. The development of the Mahe Plateau demersal fishery management plan feeds directly into Seychelles’ BE initiative and will address issues central to the BE concept such as sustainable fishing, equity and conflict resolution.
Marine Spatial Planning
The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative is a process focussed on planning for and management of the sustainable and long-term use and health of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic zone. The MSP initiative provides a practical, transparent way to create and establish a more sustainable use of Seychelles marine space and the interactions between its uses; to balance demand for development with the need to protect the environment; and to achieve social and economic objectives in an open and planned way.
The development of the Mahe plateau demersal fishery management plan will contribute to this initiative through the co-management of the demersal fishery occurring on the Mahe plateau and through identification of ecologically important sites (e.g. spawning aggregation sites) that needs to be protected at particular times of the year.