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Survey of Perceptions on Ocean Governance, Fisheries Management and the Blue Economy

Summary

Seychelles’ marine resources make up a substantial portion of the country’s economy. As tourists flock to the island to experience the natural environment and residents enjoy abundant catch, it is imperative to ensure that these socioeconomic activities are carried out sustainably – hence, the creation of Seychelles’ Marine Spatial Plan.

Seychellois both act as beneficiaries and custodians of their natural environment, making them the main actors that shape policy implementation and crucial predictors of its success. Hence, assessing their perception of fisheries management in the context of the blue economy is essential to ensure that policies are grounded in their lived realities and that they are equipped with the understanding and know-how to implement them.

The Department of Blue Economy under the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Seychelles commissioned this project to undertake a nationally representative survey of the Seychellois public’s perception of ocean governance, fisheries management, and the blue economy.

The project used random sampling to conduct a statistically robust survey experiment across the three most inhabited islands in Seychelle – Mahé, Praslin, and La Digue. There were 730 surveys collected, of which 674 were usable, resulting in a high response rate of 92%. A group of 10 enumerators that comprised University of Seychelles’ Environmental Science students and one alumnus were trained to conduct the survey as objectively and unbiased as possible. All 26 of Seychelles’ recognized districts were sampled during the survey period.

77% of survey respondents were reportedly at least ‘Satisfied’ with the management of the Seychelles’ marine protected areas, while 78% were ‘Satisfied’ with the management of Seychelles’ fisheries. With regards to information channels, over 89% of respondents used TV as their main source of news and information, followed by radio at 46% and online sources at 39%. Blue Economy was a well-known concept among Seychellois, with 93% of respondents stating they had heard about it. However, at 12%, self-reported knowledge of what it means remains low among the participants. The Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) initiative and the increased area of marine protected areas in Seychelles were also poorly understood, with 45% of respondents reporting they had heard of the SMSP but only 18% stating they know its role in protecting 30% of Seychelles’ waters.

There were nine recommendations made from the study findings. Aside from a focused communication strategy, the three main recommendations include:

  1. increased education, awareness, and information on the topics of fisheries value chains, aquaculture, and the blue economy,
  2. the results should be publicly shared with the respondents and respective Ministries, preferably through a focused media campaign to ensure awareness of the results and increase willingness to participate in future studies, and
  3. media campaigns should use TV whenever budget and resources allow as it has the widest reach. If a secondary or lower-cost alternative is needed, the campaign should focus on online and social media for those ages 18-30 and radio for those aged 45 and older.