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The Fisheries Sector: A Policy Note for the Republic of Seychelles

2017

Summary

Seychelles is a country endowed with an expansive exclusive economic zone (EEZ) measuring 1.37 million km 2 rich in marine resources. Over the years, these marine resources have supported fisheries and tourism sectors – two critical pillars of the country’s GDP.

Given the importance and breadth of marine-related activities that drive Seychelles’ blue economy, the Ministry of Finance, Trade, and the Blue Economy of Seychelles has commissioned a policy note to critically assess regulations and governance structures and provide recommendations for the sustainable management of marine resources.

An examination of the country’s fisheries management structure revealed an overreliance on a single entity, the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), a parastatal organization tasked to conduct both regulatory and business functions. Specifically, the SFA conducts scientific and training activities and maintains a strong influence in the fishing sector’s management, planning, and development. At the same time, the SFA also engages in business activities such as ice production, fuel sales, warehousing, and land leasing. The note recommends that the government re-orients the SFA and diverts investments towards public management institutions, legal structures, and scientific activities.

The government of Seychelles has long championed the creation of a vibrant fish processing sector in the country. Despite the support, however, a single large tuna canning plant dominates the industry. Hence, reviewing incentives and policies is warranted to determine whether these initiatives deliver a net benefit to the country. The government must also revisit its role in attracting investment and explore ways to encourage local private sector participation in the development of the fisheries and food processing sectors.

Financing rational fisheries management along with infrastructure remains challenging. The review found that the government of Seychelles has been over reliant on sovereign debt, rather than developing more sustainable revenue sources. In place of debt, the note recommends using cost recovery mechanisms and tax revenues to fund the public administration of fisheries and borrowing only when projected economic gains justify the debt.

Going forward, the government must recognize the potential impacts of developing the EEZ on existing resource users and prioritize maximizing benefits for the Seychellois population. As such, this note recommends that the government include diverse groups of stakeholders in the planning process and reflect their views in assessing the costs and benefits of the development of the country’s EEZ.