Modern fishing facilities at La Retraite inaugurated |19 April 2021
By Vidya Gappy
The fishing community of La Retraite and surrounding areas can now operate in a more conducive and hygienic environment following the construction and installation of various modern infrastructure which will surely add comfort and ease to their daily activities.
These new amenities and facilities include a gear store comprising 12 units to be rented out to fishermen, an ice-plant, a fish market with adjoining parking lay-by, as well as pontoons.
The project has been funded under the EU sectoral support fund established under the Fisheries Sustainability Partnership Agreement between Seychelles and the EU.
It was conceived in consultation with the fishermen of La Retraite with the main objective of supporting the fisheries community at La Retraite, improve the existing facilities and giving the fishermen a more conducive environment in which to carry out their day-to-day fishing activities.
The facilities, which have been put up by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), were officially inaugurated on Saturday by Designated Minister Jean-François Ferrari who has the portfolio responsibility for fisheries and the Blue economy.
Guest of honour at the event was the French ambassador to Seychelles, Dominique Mas, who was also representing the European Union (EU) at this event.
Expressing his satisfaction with this project, Minister Ferrari stated: “We are grateful to the EU which continuously supports us in the development of artisanal fishing. On behalf of the government of Seychelles, we thank the EU for its very important support towards this sector. This facility is for the fishermen. Every time we implement a project we need to see who will benefit from it. This new facility, which is located in a place previously called ‘smelly corner’, will benefit the fishermen from the Anse Etoile district. Today it has become a very nice small port. Similar projects will be done in several districts by the SFA. The condition is that the fishermen themselves with their associations will take care of the new port. We have also received four benches as a donation from Laxmanbhai and I would like to see this area become a social space where people will gather in harmony.”
The French ambassador also talked about the benefits of this project and also the forthcoming aids the EU will be providing to Seychelles (see accompanying box).
The SFA’s chief fisheries officer, Vincent Lucas, also gave a presentation on the Mahé Plateau Trap and Line Fisheries Regulation.
The project consists of the following infrastructure: -
- Fishermen gear stores: This infrastructure consists of 12 units of 3m x 3m gear store for fishermen to store their fishing gear. It also consists of 1 office and toilet facilities.
This project started in August 2020 and was completed in January 2021.
The initial cost was R850,000.00 but due to the Covid-19, the cost at completion had risen to R1 million.
- Ice plant: This consists of the construction of a reinforced concrete slab and the installation of the ice machine. The ice machine is already in operation. The construction of the concrete slab cost R110,000.00 and the ice machine cost R74,000.00. Construction started in February 2020 and the ice-plant became operational in October 2020.
- Fish market and parking lay-by: This consists of the construction of a fish market with a fish cleaning area. To ensure and improve the hygiene at the fish market, SFA has installed stainless steel display table under the market shed and stainless-steel sink for fish cleaning. To ensure safety of the customer when buying fish as well as loading and unloading and adequate traffic flow, SFA has also built a parking lay-by adjacent to the fish market.
The construction of the fish market started in May 2020 and was completed in August 2020. The initial cost was R150,000.00. The construction of the parking lay-by started in September 2020 and was completed in November 2020.The initial cost was R750,000.00.
- Installation of pontoon: This consists of the installation of 2 units of 22m and 1 unit of 11m long of pontoon for fishermen to moor the boats. The installation started in January 2021 and completed the same month. The total cost for the purchase and installation of pontoon was R2.9 million.
The new facilities will be managed by the La Retraite Fishermen Association, whose chairperson, Dimitri Maiden, noted that they signify the end of a difficult journey to accomplish a vision, a vison that has sought to build an infrastructure that would give the necessary tools and support to the fishing community of La Retraite.
“It is with great pride that we are here to celebrate this small milestone in the fishing industry. Albeit small, the positive impact on the daily lives of these hard working people is immeasurable. This project would have never been possible without the hard work of many individuals, the SFA team and the EU. Let's pledge to safeguard this hard work so it facilitates not only the fishermen of today but really encourages new and capable individuals to join this noble profession.”
As concluding remarks, the chief executive of SFA, Nichol Elisabeth, noted that “SFA consulted many of the stakeholders of Anse Etoile before constructing it. Today I am proud to see the final project and it is important to see that the fishermen of La Retraite, Anse Etoile and Glacis have an area to operate. Early next year, we will venture in the second phase of the project”.
Mr Elisabeth also shared that similar projects are being developed in Cascade, Anse Aux Pins, Baie Ste Anne Praslin and Grand Anse Praslin.
“All these projects are being handled by the new management and they are supposed to be completed during the course of this year.”
The elected member of the National Assembly for Anse Etoile, George Romain, also thanked the EU, the government and SFA for completing this project.
“We have some 20 fishermen in this area and having this small port will facilitate the sale of their catch in a more hygienic place. It will also give the fishermen an opportunity to take care of the area.”
Before the guests could tour the new facilities, it was blessed by Deacon Louis Agathine.
The facilities will be managed by the La Retraite Fishermen’s Association.
The accompanying photographs by our photographer Joena Meme show some highlights of Saturday’s inauguration.