New project launches in Seychelles on sustainable management plans for coastal fisheries

An International Climate Initiative Blue Economy project launched in Seychelles on Wednesday with the aim of developing sustainable management plans for coastal fisheries in Seychelles.
Titled “Strengthening the Blue Economy of the Western Indian Ocean through Integration of Ecosystem Services and Effective Biodiversity Conservation,” the project will run from 2021 to 2026.
The first two fisheries to be targeted under the FishPath component are lobster and spanner crab fisheries. The focal person for the project, Ameer Ebrahim, told reporters that the lobster and spanner crab fisheries were identified as needing a bit more attention in a consultative process in 2019.
“On the local market, spanner crabs are becoming a lot more popular and we are seeing many more small-sized species being caught and as such, there is a need to give more attention to this fishery in a management perspective. With the lobster fisheries, yes, it is small but it is a large component of the Seychelles fisheries,” said Ebrahim.
FishPath creates the link between research and data collection and management. Data collected is fed into a programme, which in turn provides the best way to manage the targeted fishery.
Ebrahim explained that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has already completed the first two steps of the project — identification of the species to be managed and holding workshops.
“We have organised a series of workshops with SFA (Seychelles Fishing Authority) primarily within the research, enforcement and fisheries management departments. We have engaged with staff who deal directly with these fisheries and we had to teach them what to do with the data as the next step,” said Ebrahim.
He added that the FishPath tool helps identify processes to be carried out for future management strategies and that “it must be stressed that the next step is to have a full engagement with stakeholders, and no one know the sea better than the fishermen.”
“We can’t introduce management measures without understanding what the fishermen go through themselves. That will be the next step as we plan to engage a lot more with the fisheries sector to identify issues and how to resolve them. The interview process has already started with spanner crab fishermen to learn more about the fishermen – where, when and how they fish, and that in itself is part of the consultative process moving forward with the project,” he continued.
Another component of the IKI project, which was initiated last year, is the Industrial Tuna Fisheries component. The IKI focal person responsible for this component, Vincent Lucas, said that The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is providing capacity building assistance when it comes to the introduction of an electronic monitoring system onboard tuna fishing vessels.
“We are also moving into electronic reporting. At the moment, paper logbooks are being filled and we want to move away from that and do it electronically through satellites. This will help us when we are monitoring quota in the sense that we get information in real time. We will have CCTV where we will see what is taking place onboard vessels, the interaction with bycatch, deployment of FADs. Even the measurements can be taken through calibrated cameras,” said Lucas.
He explained that going digital will facilitate the data processing system and link different components – the reporting and monitoring systems – together.
“Another component under the project is FAD management.  They have worked in different areas including the Pacific and these issues have already come up and they have different expertise when it comes to these issues. Seychelles is still new to them,” said Lucas.
The project is part of the International Climate Initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through a grant to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and its consortium partner, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation  and Australia’s national science agency.

Source: Seychelles News Agency