A new fishing facility, partly financed by the European Union to support the fishing community in the eastern Mahe districts of Cascade and Pointe Larue to sell their products, was officially opened on Wednesday.
The fishing facility located at Cascade near the St. Andre church, the patron saint of fishermen, was opened by the EU ambassador to Seychelles, Vincent Degert and Seychelles’ foreign affairs minister, Sylvestre Radegonde, in the absence of fisheries minister Jean-Francois Ferrari.
Fishermen from Cascade and Pointe Larue now have a fish market to sell their products, a fish cleaning area, a fish landing shed, a fishermen’s gear store, offices and shops.
The first phase of the project, completed in March 2020, comprised the lagoon’s dredging to ensure adequate depth for the vessels to manoeuvre at all times. There were also reclamation works done to expand the quay as well as a slipway.
In the second phase from August 2021, 12 gear stores, a fish market and fish cleaning area, a landing shed, a fish shop and two offices were built to cater to around 40 registered fishermen from the two districts.
The deputy chief executive of the Seychelles Fishing Authority, Ashik Hassan, said that “the whole project has cost around 12 million rupees ($920,000) for phases one and two. Phase one cost 7.6 million rupees ($583,000) and phase two cost 5.3 million rupees ($407,000).”
The new facility has its own fish cleaning area. (Juliette Dine) Photo License: CC-BY
In his address at the official launching, Radegonde thanked the EU for the facility and said: “This is yet another demonstration of the many direct benefits that the fishing agreement provides to the community.”
He urged the fisherman community to make good use of this facility.
The European Union partly funded the project under the EU-Seychelles Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement 2020-2026. The United Concrete Product Seychelles (UCPS) contributed SCR 2.3 million rupees in the first phase of the project undertaken by QuinJian International.
Ambassador Vincent Degert congratulated Seychelles for having developed a strong industry and as one of the top nations in the world when it comes to fisheries.
“Exporting to the rest of the world is important but taking care of the local community is even more important in a sense and we have not forgotten that in our agreement. We clearly want the local communities, the artisanal fisheries, the semi artisanal fisheries to have all the facilities and opportunities to do what they must,” said Degert.
The fisheries sector is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, after tourism.
Degert said that not every country has the capacity to use the funds provided by the EU as well as Seychelles is doing it.
“I’ve seen those infrastructures being built, they are absorbing 100 percent of the funds that are available and for the benefit of the communities and the fishermen, and this is exactly what we are aiming for,” he added.
A fisherman from the eastern region, Fabien Antat, told reporters from the national broadcaster Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), “I am really happy because we have been waiting for this for a long time…Now things will work better and there will be more security and we expect that vandalism will stop.”