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Update of Fisheries Development Community Projects

In a joint press conference conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy (MFBE) and Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), on Thursday 12th August, 2021, the media was provided with an update on various fisheries development community projects being implemented.

The press conference was led by the Principal Secretary for Fisheries, Mr Roy Clarisse, the Chairman of the SFA Board, Mr Radley Weber, the CEO of SFA, Mr Nicole Elisabeth, the Vice-Chairman of the SFA Board, Mr Eugene Vidot and SFA’s Project Manager, Mr. Andrew Bristol.

In his opening remarks, PS Clarisse reiterated that the government through the MFBE and SFA will continue to provide the necessary support to the artisanal fishery sector through the continuance of various concessions and subsidies. This is to ensure that this fishery remains sustainable and profitable for fishermen and other key players in the sector. However, PS Clarisse also emphasised that during these dire times, it is important that these source of finances is well managed and maintained.

‘It is important that there is no abuse as has been the case in the past. For now we are satisfied that SFA is effectively managing its budget and the Ministry of Finance has stated that we do not have an infinite budget, hence why it is important that we use this money well. This responsibility also lies with the beneficiaries of these funds to ensure that they use the assistance in a sustainable manner’, said PS Clarisse.

Concessions and subsidies provided to artisanal fishermen is mainly but not limited to the sale of ice and fuel. According to the CEO of SFA, Mr Nichol Elisabeth, SFA is currently operating at loss with regards to the production and sale of ice. However, he says this subsidisation is important to ensure that fishers have all resources needed to conduct their fishing activities in the most profitable way possible.

The development of infrastructure projects in fishermen communities on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue remains a top priority for the MFBE and SFA, to provide fishermen with more conducive and hygienic facilities to land, clean and sell their catch. This is turn will ensure that consumers are purchasing quality fish and other types of seafood in line with health and safety standards.

As of date, SFA has 8 fisheries development projects in the pipeline. This includes the re-furbishment of SFA headquarters at the Victoria Fishing Port that has been evacuated since 2020, due to fungus infestation. The 7 remaining projects are community based fisheries development projects that is currently being implemented. This includes projects in the districts of Glacis, Perseverance, Cascade, Anse Aux Pins, Anse Boileau, Grand Anse Praslin and Baie Ste Anne Praslin.

Mr Elisabeth stated that in the space of one year, SFA has initiated 8 new fisheries development projects in strategic locations on Mahe, Praslin and La Digue. This he says shows the urgency and the devotion that both the Ministry and SFA has towards facilitating and significantly improving the facilities and services offered to fishers.

‘We do not like investing money in projects that are not maintained after, and this is a point that both the Ministry and SFA is putting a lot of emphasis on. We want to see results not just in terms of them using the facility but also in the way they do business and upkeep the facilities. La Retraite is a great example, so far it is working well because all stakeholders are involved in the management of the facilities and we have a great working relationship. This is what we want to see happening in all fisher communities’, said Mr Gabriel.

The 8 projects being undertaken by SFA for the year 2021/2022 is being financed under the European Union Sectoral Support Fund made available by the Seychelles/EU Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement 2020-2026.