An association of local fishermen from Praslin, the second-most populated island in Seychelles, has embraced a project that will help maintain the fish stock at one of the island’s bays, said the chairperson of the association.
Darell Green said the project aims to conserve part of the Baie St Anne by limiting fishing activities from taking place in that area for a period of time.
“The initiative will help maintain the fish stock in that area such that it will give ample time for the stock to grow,” he said.
Spearheaded by Praslin Fisher’s Association, the project is an example whereby fishermen take the initiative to develop sustainable fishing.
The coordinator of the project, Jude Bijoux, said the area chosen will be demarcated and a date will be fixed for when the implementation starts.
Bijoux said that this is “the first time fishermen of the island has agreed voluntarily among themselves to bring a proposition to limit fishing in an area for a period of time to allow the fish stock to replenish.”
Another aspect of the project is to serve as an educational model for the fishermen community on Praslin.
“We don’t need the government to always come and tell us to protect our own resources. As fisherman we need to put our heads together to realise this project and conserve what we have for the future generation,” said Green.
A local fisherman, Wilfred Morel, said that this will benefit all fishermen on the island as it will ensure that there is fish to catch in the area even during the most difficult season – the south-east trade wind. This period which goes from May to October can make the sea rough especially along the coasts exposed to the east and south and this can negatively impact the availability of fresh fish on the market.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the Seychelles economy.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture has welcomed the project. The principal secretary of the fisheries department, Jude Talma, said that this is a very good initiative on behalf of the local fisherman.
“For many years now, we have been talking about sustainable fishing and it is finally getting through to the fishermen. This sector really depends on them and the action they take. I would like to congratulate them for taking this step,” said Talma.
The chief executive of the Seychelles Fisheries Authority, Ronny Renaud, said that the authority supports this initiative. He added that the fishing community is through the project supporting SFA in managing its own fishing activities.
Renaud said that other communities have expressed their willingness to conduct similar projects and this is an example they can follow.
Prior to the implementation of the project, fishermen on Praslin have agreed to sign an agreement not to fish within the demarcated area. Fishing activity in the area to be demarcated is expected to close on November 1 each year and reopened on April 30 the following year.
The project coordinator, Bijoux, said that the Praslin Fisher’s Association intends to extend this project on other islands and the next one will be along the reef of Anse Reunion on La Digue, the third most populated island.
Over the years, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has put a lot of emphasis on sustainable fishing. One of the initiatives is a marine spatial planning exercise to expand protected areas and a fisheries management plan for the Mahe Plateau to progressively move from an open-access fishery to a more controlled fishery.