Thu, 24th August 2017 | Updated Thursday 27 July 2017, 09:18:58
Seychelles Nation 09.01.14 - A group of Seychellois fishermen and an official from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) have had the chance to learn about Rodrigues' fisheries co-management systems.
This unique study visit to Rodrigues between November 22-28, 2013 was funded by the government of Seychelles' UNDP-GEF project 'Mainstreaming biodiversity management into production sector activities'.
Five fishers of the Praslin Fishermen Association (PFA) and the SFA representative had the chance to share knowledge and learn from the good practices of Rodrigues' fisheries co-management system focused on seasonal closure of the octopus fishery.
The PFA representatives comprised chairperson Darell Green and executive members Pascal Andre, Wilton Cedras, Mark Grandcourt and Ron Lesperance while Elisa Socrate represented the SFA. They were accompanied by Betty Seraphine of the GOS-UNDP-GEF Programme Coordination Unit.
This exchange made history for both the administration of Rodrigues Island and the government of Seychelles, as it was the first time that two UNDP-GEF regional projects have exchanged experience and fishing techniques in order to promote fisheries co-management system among small island developing States.
The Seychellois delegation was invited by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly and was cordially received on arrival by Jean Richard Payendee, the Commissioner for Environment, Forestry, Tourism, Marine Parks and Fisheries for Rodrigues, and members of his staff.
The study visit started with the Seychelles team meeting with the relevant authorities in the fisheries sector, including the Fisheries Protection Service, where they learned about the Rodrigues' wide seasonal closure of the octopus fishery.
The Seychellois fishers later took part in a friendly fishing competition with the fishers of the five cooperatives in Rodrigues during a sea outing organised by the Fisheries Research and Training Unit. The Seychellois fishers were able to demonstrate their fishing techniques and methods of preparation, which the Rodrigues fishers observed with great interest.
The following day the team benefited from a session whereby fishing authorities and fishers of both countries exchanged ideas on fishing techniques based on the previous day's outing.
The team from Seychelles learned about Rodrigues' participatory monitoring, control and surveillance system during the closure of the octopus fishery and how this collaboration between state and non-state actors have fostered the public-private partnership for fisheries in Rodrigues. This information sharing was crucial because, although Seychelles has signed its first fisheries co-management plan, it has not yet embarked on the monitoring aspects.
In turn, the fishers from Rodrigues and the staff of the South East Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) Rodrigues learned about more effective ways used by Seychelles fishers to construct the mouths of fish traps, their various fishing techniques and their methods of preparing bait for fishing.
Representatives of the Seychelles team took part in a radio programme on MBC Rodrigues where they expressed their appreciation to the governments of both countries and to the UNDP-GEF for making this study visit a reality.
At the end of the visit a reception was held where the delegation from Rodrigues thanked the team from Seychelles for sharing their experiences and in return the Seychelles team expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the warm hospitality of the Rodriguais.
The Seychelles fishers have extended an invitation to the Rodrigues fishers and to the relevant fisheries authorities to undertake a similar study visit in the Seychelles, so that both countries can benefit from further information and knowledge sharing, particularly the fishing techniques of Seychelles which were much admired during the sea outing.
The project manager has also extended an invitation to the Rodrigues Commissioner to continue the fruitful working relationship and cooperation between the fisheries and tourism authorities of both islands, helping to strengthen bilateral relations between Rodrigues and Seychelles.
Both authorities acknowledged the support of the GOS-UNDP-GEF project in funding this successful initiative between the two islands.