Businesses in Seychelles which qualify to lease and develop fish processing facilities at the newly demarcated Fish Processing Zone at Ile Du Port will be revealed by June this year.
The Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy said that procedures for allocation started in February when the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) through a public tender invited companies to send in their requests.
The principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, said that 13 applications were received and the successful businesses will now have until May to send their proposals to the SIB and from there on if they meet all requirements will be considered for allocation at the zone.
“We expect production to start by mid-2023, and the targeted processed products will be from tuna and tuna-like species, fresh, frozen, and cooked and pre-cooked predominantly for export,” said Clarisse.
Around 400,000 tons of tuna are caught by purse seiners annually in the South-West Indian Ocean, of which around 80,000 tons are caught in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Clarisse said the production of processed fish is expected to start by mid-2023. (File photo: Patrick Joubert) Photo license: CC-BY
The demarcation of the first area of land to be used solely as a fish processing zone, where industrial fish processing and related projects will be centrally located, was done in January.
The piece of land to be allocated to private investors covers 70,000 square metres and is found on the manmade island of Ile du Port, north of the main island of Mahe.
Besides the fish processing units at the Providence fishing port, this is the first area demarcated as part of a land-use plan exclusively for fish processing and related activities.
In a previous interview with SNA, Clarisse had said the purpose is to have a centre dedicated location close to the seafront where fish processing factories are located.
Factories will have to be of approved standards as required by the Seychelles Bureau of Standard (SBS) for fish processing factories engaged in the export of fish or fish product.
“Unlike processed meat where additives and preservatives are added, processed fish is safe. There are different types or categories of processing, such as filleting, loins, steaks and other processing methods such as pre-cook, and canning,” said Clarisse.
In November, last year the new Minister for Fisheries, Jean Francois Ferrari, explained that more facilities, especially those that will support land-based services for fisheries, must be made available for the businesses and investors in Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
The possibility of a wider range of activities can be realised, said Ferrari, such as services the transformation of fish to high-value products fit for exportation.