Seychelles boosts sustainable fishing with scientific observer training programme |14 November 2023
A group of participants has been learning about a scientific observer’s role and fisheries resource management duties, observer protocol at sea, data entry and the observer data, among others ahead of their mission as freelance observers of industrial vessel fishing in the Seychelles waters.
The scientific observer training is a bi-annual training organised by the SFA to recruit and upskill freelance observers. It targets mainly former students of the Seychelles Maritime Academy.
This year 25 observers have received training – 10 from the first session and 15 from the current training.
Yesterday, the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue economy, Jean-François Ferrari, paid a visit to the Seychelles Fishing Authority’s (SFA) headquarters during one of the sessions, to provide words of encouragement to the participants.
In an interview with the press, the minister spoke vehemently about the importance of this training, stating he wanted to visit them before they leave for their duties at sea.
He stressed that they were not only observers, but rather, scientific observers, which makes all the difference.
“They are getting trained to perform scientific duties, to pick up all the information of the sea regarding fishing,” he stated.
He noted that the participants are receiving proper training from actual scientists and had amassed a world of knowledge during their one-week session, adding they were now qualified to talk about tuna, due to the detailed essential information they have gained.
Mr Ferrari stated that when all this knowledge was applied, there would be a proper analysis to determine the state of the tuna stock, how the current of the waves are and how the water is heating up to be able to do better sustainable fishing.
“A formidable work from the youth, and I will always encourage them to join in this work.”
Minister Ferrari said there were presently 13 boats flying the Seychelles flag and they all needed at least one observer, pointing out why constant training was needed to make sure there was a healthy supply of recruits.
“It is difficult work and sometimes the youth do not always hold out.”
He said around 180 students have already been trained, but not that many in the current position. SFA has been conducting the training since 2014 and one of its key partners is Artzi, a scientific Spanish organisation. They assist SFA with technical expertise to ensure that the scientific observers collect quality data. The current training is being facilitated by Inigo Krug from Artzi.
One of the trainees is Hersha Prempeh who described the session as very informative.
Ms Prempeh said she took interest in this field roughly two years ago as she was interested in seeing the many boats that dock in the Seychelles ports.
“For someone who has worked in the fisheries domain, I see it as very interesting,” she stated.
This sentiment was echoed by another student, Nifa Moumou, who’s always been passionate about the ocean, and felt she could make an important contribution as a scientific observer.