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US supporting Seychelles to develop sustainable aquaculture sector |25 August 2023

US supporting Seychelles to develop sustainable aquaculture sector

US Ambassador Henry Jardine addressing the gathering (Photos: Louis Toussaint)

The United States is supporting the Seychelles government to develop a sustainable aquaculture sector, and to increase investments in the sector through an attractive business environment.

The three-day engagement comprises meetings with stakeholders and site visits to aquaculture sites, culminating in a workshop at L’Escale Resort & Marina, yesterday.

Grouping together key stakeholders, the workshop involved discussions on successful and sustainable aquaculture ventures, the legislative and regulatory frameworks for supporting eco-friendly practices for the industry, as well as the means through which to mitigate challenges faced by operators and regulators, to help establish the sector as a strong pillar of the economy.

As explained by US Ambassador to Seychelles, Henry Jardine, the US is committed to improving fisheries management and promoting sustainable aquaculture developments worldwide. As both a major producer and consumer of seafood, it recognises the importance of including aquaculture as a key component of climate-resilient food systems, particularly in coastal communities like Seychelles, which depends on fish stocks, he said.

“Sustainable aquaculture projects can address this depletion in fish stock supplies, and foster economic diversification here in Seychelles and across the Indian Ocean region,” Ambassador Jardine stated.

For his part, Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy Jean-François Ferrari highlighted the urgency of sustainably expanding the sector to optimise Seychelles’ food production capacity.

“The need to produce more protein for our ever-increasing local and foreign demand has never been more important than now, especially during this post-pandemic era, at a time when most economies are still trying to recover from the negative impact to global supply chains and demands in various markets,” said Designated Minister Ferrari.

“Aquaculture does not only provide food security, income-generation, employment, it also should, and I believe, will, offer environmental benefits, such as climate change adaptation, and mitigation,” Minister Ferrari stated.

American expert Jason Hackathorn, founder and chief sustainability officer of the US-based firm Forever Oceans, who led the workshop also emphasised the importance of fisheries management, to reap the maximum benefits from Seychelles’ marine resources.

“There is a vast and valuable marine resource here, and in terms of the ocean space, Seychelles has 1.3 million square kilometers. It is very clean waters, it’s a good bathymetry, and that represents good opportunity economically, socially, environmentally, but there’s need to be managed appropriately, to achieve them synergistically,” Mr Hackathorn asserted.

The Cabinet recently gave the go ahead to allow for amendments to update the aquaculture policy, towards attracting large investments, capacity-building and empowering youths to take part in the sector.

Head of the aquaculture department at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) Aubrey Lesperance, noted that the department is encouraging large investments in finfish farming, at least 30 kilometers from the coast. Such large ventures are not only sustainably, but will reap more economically, through fish exports.

All licensed investors in the sector are Seychellois, and it is expected that the engagement with the US Embassy will lead to increased collaboration between US and Seychelles entities. Government will be provided with recommendations on how to establish an attractive business environment for investment and trade opportunities.

Three Seychellois scientists from SFA, namely Veronica Uzice, Rodney Govinden and Mr Lesperance will be travelling to the US for three weeks, through the International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) exchange programme. The programme seeks to empower leaders in sustainable fisheries to gain new skills, exchange ideas and learn different approaches. While there, they will further their expertise on the benefits of transparent fisheries management in the Western Indian Ocean.

The workshop was held in partnership with the SFA and Seychelles Investment Board (SIB). The SIB is an important partner in the quest to develop the sector in a sustainable way, and to implement the right business environment to attract investment.

It was funded through the Business Facilitation Initiative Fund, administered by the US Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.


Laura Pillay

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