Aquaculture business plans and production models ready |07 March 2023
Investors attend workshop to learn more about the models
Revised versions of the aquaculture business plan, and production models unveiled in September last year, were presented to investors interested in venturing into aquaculture during a half-day workshop last Friday at Care House.
The workshop was organised by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) and it formed part of a ‘Long-term Technical Assistance to Support Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation in Seychelles Programme’, funded by the European Development Fund (EDF).
Around 30 businesses and SFA officials attended the session, facilitated by fisheries and aquaculture consultant, Jim McCafferty.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Mr McCafferty said that one of the biggest constraints for promoting aquaculture was the lack of information on the profitability on different aquaculture ventures and it was therefore necessary to develop business models that could show the feasibility of different species.
These business models would be given to the investors and to the SFA for them to understand what opportunities they can find with different species.
He said the models take into account various factors; such as the cost of the products, the price of the products, the cost of building and operations, as well as how many people you need to employ.
“And it uses those factors to model what the likely outcome would be under different scenarios. If one was producing 50 tonnes as opposed to 100 tonnes, for example. What would your return on investment be, how much would you need to invest, is it worth investing in this operation,” he said.
Mr McCafferty said the models were developed using the best information from scientific literature as well as from engagement with industry experts globally but with a focus with people who have worked in the western Indian Ocean region, as the species in the region differ from those from other regions and do not exhibit similar traits in terms of their growth or production.
“Obviously aquaculture is yet to be an established sector here but we have information to model what the likely outcome would be,” said Mr McCafferty.
It should be noted that the business plans and production are for six species namely finfish hatchery production, echinoid hatchery production, finfish cage culture, sea urchin tank culture, sea cucumber ranching, and pearl oyster grow-out.
According to the head of the aquaculture department, Aubrey Lesperance, this is the final document and investors can now choose the best plan and model for their venture.
“The workshop is for us to train the entrepreneurs because sometimes they approach us requesting various information such as the cost of an aquaculture, the space required for such a venture among other things, but now they would have all the information including the number of tonnes they would like to produce, the egg batch they would have to start with to cover the mortality rate around the year among others,” explained Mr Lesperance. He stated that although the exercise is completed, the bio-economics document will be amended as they go along to include more criteria.
George Michel, who was attending the workshop for the first time, has been doing spanner crab fisheries for a while now and his business plans to bring it closer to their clients.
“As it stands now, we are fishing very far away from Mahé, roughly 100 nautical miles, which makes it costly. So, we want to bring it closer to where our market is on Mahé, which will also allow us to have fresh spanner crabs on sale, because usually seafood should be sold fresh. With an aquaculture venture we will be able to build enclosures to breed the species and be closer to our clients,” explained Mr Michel.
For Nicholas Adam, the venture is a new one as well and he plans to explore finfish hatchery production or cage production, as well as seaweed.
“We are looking at all the possibilities and which one is more feasible at this point. It is obviously a new industry and there is a lot of variables so with models like this we are hoping to reduce the risks and help us select the most feasible solution.
SFA said clients would be able to access the bio-economics model via an easy-to-use and simple application that it has developed specifically for the aquaculture investors and this would be available soon.
Photos by Louis Toussaint