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Development of Seychelles’ Seafood Sector Value Chains



The development of Seychelles’ blue economy is the focus of the government’s long-term strategy of promoting diversification, resilience, and sustainability of the economy. Central to this initiative is enhancing the country’s fisheries sector through the promotion and development of aquaculture and other value-adding activities such as locally based seafood processing. To support the development of Seychelles’ seafood value chains, this review critically assessed the current state of play of these value chains, identified the challenges and capacity needs they face, and proposed the Seafood Value Chain Development and Upgrading Strategy to position Seychelles into a regional processing hub.

The seafood value chains in Seychelles are diverse in their scale, species, and the products processed. They are an essential component of domestic food security and supply cost-effective, culturally appropriate seafood to the domestic market. Additionally, high-value, niche seafood products are sold to the hotel and restaurant and exported to premium international markets.

The government has prioritized the development of these value chains to derive more value from finite fisheries resources. Excluding the IOT tuna canning facility, government infrastructure investments in seafood processing facilities have resulted in 21,867 Mt per annum of operational, 6,550 Mt per annum of complete but not yet operational, and 31,631 Mt per annum of pipeline (to be completed by the end of 2020) processing capacities. If successfully operationalized in the coming years, the capacity offered by these facilities could help establish Seychelles as a regional processing hub.

However, the development of processing capacity is contrasted by a tightening of raw material supplies from the fisheries. Notably, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) yellowfin quota for the West Indian Ocean is set to proportionately reduce the entire region’s tuna catch from the industrial purse seine fleet by an estimated 80,000 Mt annually. Landings in Seychelles by the industrial longline fleet remain immaterial. The artisanal fishery is considered over-exploited, and catches are declining. The only fishery with expansion potential is the semi-industrial fishery, which is unaffected by the IOTC yellowfin tuna quota and includes species that are considered to be currently under-exploited – particularly spanner crab.

Securing the future supply of raw materials to the value chains is a critical driver of success. The Policy for the Management of Bycatch in Seychelles, which required the landing of bycatch from all fishing fleets, has added a new source of raw material for local seafood processors. The processors have responded swiftly by developing capacity, products, and markets in line with increasing supplies.

The bycatch policy will be strengthened by the Landing Regulations proposing that bycatch, and a portion of the target catch, should be landed and retained in the Seychelles by flagged and licensed vessels. Meanwhile, the imminent development of the aquaculture sector will add to supply volumes and diversify the seafood products available to the value chains. In particular, the pearl oyster farming and sea cucumber ranching segments have been strategically prioritized.

The development strategy proposed by the current review identified 26 seafood processing value chains in Seychelles and prioritized 13 for further analyses based on their potential for growth. By zooming into the traded volumes, activities of clustered value chain actors, costs and profit margins, and risk elements, the review has identified vital interventions specific to each value chain and the corresponding costs.

Finally, the review recommends the following overarching strategies aimed at developing in parallel critical aspects of each value chain:

  • Resource Strategy: ‘Secure the resource base and improve local access to raw material’

Three plans bolster the Resource Strategy. The “R&D Plan” aims to establish R&D as a solid platform to base all MCS activities. The “Landings Plan” seeks to ensure the landing of bycatch and target catch from all Seychelles fisheries and vessels under its flag and fishing in its EEZ. The “Access Plan” recognizes the need for access to raw materials landed in Seychelles to be transparent and for prices to be determined in a market-led manner.

  • Infrastructure Strategy: ‘Operationalise infrastructure to support medium-term capacity requirements’

The Infrastructure Strategy contains three plans. The “Bel Ombre/Providence Plan” provides for refitting processing facilities at these locations according to emerging processing opportunities. The “Industrial Facilities Plan” proposes the development of ULT freezing capacity at the industrial ports. The “Airport Plan” allows for upgrading perishable handling facilities at the international airport.

  • Market Strategy: ‘Improve market intelligence as a basis for product-market activities’

The Market Strategy incorporates the “Market Intelligence Plan,” which aims to improve access to critical market data and trends in a quickly circulated format. The “Branding Plan” seeks to develop the Seychelles brand in fisheries products beyond wholesale.

  • Products Strategy: ‘Optimize the Seychelles basket of products for target markets’

The Products Strategy looks at developing the necessary skills and technologies to support the processing and manufacturing of uniquely formulated products in line with target market requirements.

  • Certification Strategy: ‘Underpin the Seychelles brand with globally value certifications’

The need for certification as a critical requirement underpinning the Seychelles brand has been recognized, and plans have been formulated to address requirements at the sustainability, retailer, labeling, and food safety levels.

  • Species Strategy: ‘Expand and diversify the species offering of the Seychelles’

The species strategies align with identified interventions of the prioritized value chains.

The complete implementation of these strategies and their underlying plans total an investment value of US$1,705m for short-term capacity limitations and a further US$14,425m to expand and enhance the prioritized value chains to the targeted outcomes.