Seychelles is looking into the possibility of developing new industries by reusing and recycling fishing nets and gear currently abandoned at the Ile Du Port, Zone 14.
The Department of Blue Economy in collaboration with the Organisation of Frozen Tuna Producers – OPAGAC – has embarked on a project to explore the potential use and value of abandoned and discarded industrial fishing nets and gear.
OPAGAC, which represents several Spanish tuna fishing purse seining companies, strives to achieve fishing activities with zero impact on the environment.
A consultant at the Departments of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Phillipe Michaud, told the press on Wednesday that “this is essentially a project through which we want to use fishing nets and other fishing equipment that vessels use in the industry, as a means to get maximum benefits from these items.”
“The project will be in the interest of fishing vessels, the government, the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), and the government as well as other Seychellois who will be involved in it,” said Michaud.
The aim of the project is to use discarded fishing nets and other fishing equipment in the industry to derive maximum benefits from them. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
He outlined that currently fishing nets are already being used by farmers, on football playing fields and for fencing purposes, however, “we want to go further than this as it is a waste not to do anything else with these nets”.
The Department and OPAGAC organised for a consultant – Borja Mendes, the Innovation Manager at Sinerxia – to conduct a preliminary round of stakeholder activities to explore the potential use and value of these nets and gears.
The aim of the visit from July 19 to 22 was to initiate a scoping study to draw a picture of the current situation. That is to estimate the flows of fishing nets, existing infrastructure and logistics, current uses of the materials, impacts on people and the environment, among others.
The visit also served as a means to brainstorm and identify potential future scenarios where the abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear is managed according to the principles of the circular economy.
The project leader, Francesca Adrienne, said that once her team receives the report from the consultant in September or October, the components will be analysed to see which components the ministry can actively participate in, which section will fall under SFA, and so forth.
“We foresee that by the beginning of 2022 we will be able to start something. However, based on the finding that they show us, we will see how far we will push to start with. We will also be able to know how long it will take to for us to take something off the ground and present it to the public. We do not want the nets to go to the landfill, which is currently what is happening,” she said.