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Seychelles becomes the 12th Member State to sign the Charter for the SADC Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre

The Republic of Seychelles strengthens regional cooperation in SADC by signing the Charter establishing MCSCC. The MCSCC was established in Maputo, Mozambique following the entry into force of the Charter establishing MCSCC on 08 April 2023, and has a mandate of coordinating measures to improve fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the SADC region. Fisheries in Seychelles is the second most important sector after tourism, contributing up to 20% of the GDP and employing 17% of the population. Seychelles lies in the heart of the Indian Ocean Tuna fisheries and plays an important role in the sustainability of these fisheries.

In his official speech, H.E. Mr. Jean-François Ferrari, Designated Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy indicated that the sustainability of the regional fisheries-related activities needs to be improved, and one of the strategic priorities is to encourage the adoption of a “circular economy business model, using by-products and waste from fish transformation to turn them into products of economic value”.

The Minister underscored the importance of fighting IUU fishing as a collective. He indicated that Seychelles is modernising and transforming its laws and policies and strengthening relationships with the relevant national, regional and international authorities and partners, hence it was important that Seychelles endorses and signs the SADC Charter establishing MCSCC.

The establishment of the SADC MCSCC builds on the SADC Common Agenda and aims to deepen the integration agenda with a view to accelerating poverty eradication and the attainment of economic and sustainable development goals. By developing shared policies, regulations and controls the SADC MCSCC will feed into SADC integration milestones to develop a free trade area, customs union and a common market.

The Charter came into force on 08 April 2023, and Seychelles follows in the steps of  Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.

The commitment of the Seychelles to regional cooperation on fisheries management and governance through the MCSCC is significant. It highlights the significant role that the fisheries sector play in terms of poverty eradication and food security in the region. The SADC region has a lot of key aquatic ecosystems (inland and marine) mostly shared between Member States, which require regional cooperation to fight challenges such as unsustainable fishing practices, unregulated cross-border trade and other associated illegal activities. The Regional MCSCC will provide a cost-effective mechanism to support operational cooperation, for all SADC’s fisheries.

The MCSCC will coordinate regional fisheries MCS data and information sharing services, including a regional fishing vessel register and monitoring system; provision of regional fisheries surveillance, observer coordination and port State measures support services; provision of fisheries law enforcement and legal support services; and help to support improvements in the capacity of national MCS systems.