Sun, 25th June 2017 | Updated Tuesday 20 June 2017, 04:53:43
The first fisheries co-management plan for Seychelles has been developed on Praslin for fishers of artisanal trap and line fishing: an important step for the blue economy.
This plan has been developed through a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF), the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), the Praslin Fishing Association (PFA), and other stakeholders.
The plan has been produced under the GOS-UNDP-GEF ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity Management into Production Sector Activities’ project, which has the objective of integrating biodiversity conservation into Seychelles’ key economic sectors – tourism and fishing.
Development of the plan concluded with a signing ceremony that was held last Friday at Grand Anse Praslin.
The plan was signed by the Minister for Natural Resources Peter Sinon and the chairman of the Praslin Fisheries Co-management Coordination Committee (PFCCC) Darell Green.
In attendance were the UNDP programme officer for Seychelles, Roland Alcindor; chief executive of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Finley Racombo; SFA research and development manager, Vincent Lucas; UNDP-GEF programme coordinator and chief technical advisor, Andrew Grieser Johns; and the mainstreaming biodiversity project manager, Betty Seraphine.
Many members of the PFA were present to witness the signing.
The plan was initiated following a proposal to declare a special co-managed area around the islands of Praslin and La Digue, whereby all resource users (fishers and other stakeholders) would agree to abide by a set of management rules contained in the plan.
It provides 13 management measures, along with seven recommendations that will help the fishers and stakeholders to better manage Seychelles’ fisheries resources.
The management measures address fishers’ concerns over the decreasing catch rates in the Praslin fishery, the large quantities of fish sold by non-commercial fishers, fishing on spawning aggregations, and the catching of under-sized fish, among other issues.
The overall objective of the plan is to ensure that fisheries are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis, so as to maintain the fisheries resources over the long term and minimise disruption to maritime ecosystems.
“Our maritime resource is one of our most important natural resources, remaining an important livelihood source for many Seychellois. Hence, we have to safeguard and manage it sustainably for our benefits and that of future generations,” highlighted the minister.
The minister thanked members of the PFA for their commitment and hard work to help develop the plan.
“This co-management plan has been created with your support and we hope that at the end of the project, you will have the same commitment to implement it,” said the minister.
On his part, Mr Green said that Praslin fishers recognise the importance and need for a sustainable marine ecosystem.
“After all the hard work, we are proud to finally have the plan. It is important that we, the fishers, take responsibility for our own fishing industry and play our role in sustaining our marine resources,” said Mr Green.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation to the PFCCC of several monitoring and surveillance equipment, including search lights for mounting on fishing boats, life jackets, night vision binoculars, and video cameras handed over by Mr Alcindor.
The equipment was funded under the ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity Project’ to support the effective implementation of the plan by the fishers and other stakeholders.
“It is important that implementers of the plan are provided with all necessary equipment if they are to effectively carry out the activities under this management plan and to produce sustainable results,” said Mr Alcindor.
Mr Alcindor added that a similar management system is expected to be replicated for fishers on Mahé