Seychelles hosts multi-country meeting to restore coral ecosystems to aid fishing, aquaculture

Countries involved in a project to restore coral ecosystems to help the fisheries and aquaculture sectors held their first meeting in Seychelles on Friday.
The REEFFISH project will cost $4.4 million over a period of three years and is managed under a collaboration between the Food Agricultural Organisation and the government of Japan alongside Seychelles, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar and Mauritius.
In Friday’s meeting at Eden Bleu, participants were briefed on the project and shared their views.
The national project Coordinator of Seychelles, Ameer Ebrahim, said that the “expected outcomes of this project are to firstly improve fisheries management around coral reefs and also generate some sort of revenue based on that aspect. Secondly, it is s to improve value chain throughout the fishery within those two areas and to also combat illegal and unregulated fishing.”
The Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy of Seychelles has identified Silhouette Island and the Anse Royale bay as the two main sites for the project.
Ebrahim also said that within the coming weeks, the committee will meet with members of the public, including fishermen, to further discuss the project and get their input.
“We will provide training facilities to fishermen where they will learn for example how to better take care of their catch, where to anchor their boats to ensure that they do not damage reefs and reap better rewards from their catch,” he added.
The REEFFISH project is aimed at enhancing livelihoods, food security and maritime safety through increased resilience of fishing communities dependent on coral reef fisheries in the African coastal countries of the Indian Ocean.
Ebrahim said that “the project is part of FAO’s Blue Growth Initiative that aims at supporting more productive, responsible, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture sectors by improving the governance and management of the aquatic ecosystems, conservation of biodiversity and habitats.”
The project will also empower communities to act not only as resource users but also as resource stewards, added Ebrahim.
Fisheries is the second-most important economic contributor for Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The meeting was attended by Seychelles’ Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, and the Japanese ambassador to Seychelles, Makoto Tominaga, along with representatives from the Seychelles Fishing Authority, FAO and others. 
The agreement for the project was signed in 2019, but it was put on hold as all participating countries dealt with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Seychelles News Agency