To commemorate the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Day on Saturday 16th October, 2021, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy (MFBE) and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), launched the Seychelles Aquaculture Sector.
The launching ceremony was held at the Eden Bleu Hotel and was attended by the Vice-President of the Republic, Mr. Ahmed Affif with other members of the cabinet also in attendance.
It has been a long journey for the Aquaculture team at SFA and all the stakeholders involved in the development of this new sector.
The vision was to develop a marine aquaculture sector, of which the ground work started in 2011 with the development of the Mariculture Master Plan (MMP).
The launching of the new Aquaculture sector essentially means that SFA is making available licenses for production, research and development, hatchery, nursery and restorative licenses, to potential investors.
The development of Aquaculture is an important activity under the Blue Economy Strategy, to achieve economic diversification, food security, and sustainable management of the marine environment and the creation of high value jobs.
In his keynote address to commemorate the occasion, the Designated Minister and the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Mr. Jean-Francois placed great emphasis on the very strong symbiotic relationship between the aquaculture, tourism and environmental sectors, which could be further exploited in the future.
“This could be a great business opportunity for the private sector to explore and the possibilities are immense. We will become known as a niche, high quality producer of fish and fish products, with consistent volumes and quality of supply to some of the most important markets”, said Minister Ferrari.
“On the local market our hotels and restaurants will benefit from these consistent fish volumes, crabs, sea urchins and other fish products being available, that will ensure we receive the right quality of seafood-loving tourists. Imported seafood will be reduced and we will become known as a seafood destination”, he added.
The head of the Aquaculture Section within SFA, Mr. Aubrey Lesperance, said in his welcoming speech that the launching has come at an opportune time not just for investment purposes but for the long term fisheries management of the country.
“Ensuring food security will remain one of our highest priorities for aquaculture development in Seychelles. The main reason being that the fisheries industry continues to suffer from a steady decline in artisanal demersal fish catches while it still must sustain the country’s needs for fish. The demand comes from the local population of over 98,000 and its tourism arrivals which stood at over 380,000 in 2019”, he said.
“This problem also provides an opportunity for long-term plans regarding possible re-stocking programmes to help with the various fisheries management plans. One of those fisheries in particular, the sea cucumber fisheries, provide an interesting start as some of the local entrepreneurs have already shown great interest in experimenting with the species”, Mr. Lesperance added.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of SFA, Mr. Nichol Elizabeth, thanked all SFA staff, partners and stakeholders for the ground work leading up to this launching.
“The expectations are high, and the team is now gearing up to continue the journey, this time, with much more strength and support to steer the sector in the right direction in order to achieve the sector’s vision. We, the SFA Board and Management, are dedicated to support and see that the sector delivers on its mandate going forward”, said Mr. Elizabeth.
The decision was taken by cabinet in February 2017 to proceed with developing an aquaculture sector which is aligned with the Ecosystems Approach to Aquaculture; a United Nations FAO guideline to ensure that aquaculture promotes sustainable development, equity, and resilience of interlinked social-ecological systems.
Aquaculture is today one of the fastest growing global industries, now accountable for supplying 51% of all fish consumed in the world. The rising demand for fish globally, means the world is becoming more dependent on aquaculture to meet this demand.
The global demand for fish is growing, year by year which increases pressure on these marine resources, and aquaculture is said to be the only way that this demand can be met.
For more information on the Seychelles Aquaculture sector visit the new website on www.seychellesaquaculture.com
Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy
2nd Floor Maison Collet
Palm Street, Victoria, Mahé
P.O Box 408
Republic of Seychelles