One of the recently opened fishing infrastructure at La Retraite. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) – The Seychelles’ government is intensifying its efforts to develop infrastructures in different districts across the two main islands of Mahe and Praslin to ensure that artisanal fisheries remain an important pillar in the island nation’s economy.
The Principal Secretary for Fisheries, Roy Clarisse, told the press on Thursday that this is being carried out to support the fishing community and to guarantee food security and the sector’s sustainability.
The fisheries ministry and the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) are working on eight projects, all of which are being fully funded under the EU-Seychelles Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement 2020-2026.
The socio-economic development of Seychelles and its fisheries sector is at the core of the activities supported by the European Union under the sectoral support programme of the agreement.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Each year, for the entire duration of the protocol, a financial contribution of $3.2 million by the EU is earmarked to promote the sustainable management of fisheries in Seychelles, as well as to support the development of small-scale fisheries.
The biggest project to benefit under the fund will be in Baie St. Anne Praslin with an estimated cost of SCR22 million ($1.4 million).
Expected to start in November the project will see the construction of a fish market and fish cleaning area, fish landing shed, fishermen gear store with toilet facilities, an ice plant, fuel depot, gear shops and installation of a pontoon.
Constructions on similar facilities, excluding a fuel depot, started on August 2 at Anse Aux Pins. Expected to come at a cost of SCR10 million ($680,000), it will take about 12 months to complete the facilities.
New facilities will be going up at Cascade, Grande Anse Praslin, Perseverance, and Glacis as well, amounting to an estimated total of SCR6 million ($409,000).
The chief executive of SFA, Nichol Elisabeth said that “it is not convenient to have fishermen selling their fish on wooden pallets on the side of the road, as it is not hygienic and causes a hazard to road users.”
“The ministry together with other authorities such as the police will work together to reinforce procedures to ensure that fish are not sold along the roadside,” he added.
Renovation work on the SFA headquarters, which was affected by a fungus infection, and the capacity boosting of the fuel depot in Victoria are also being carried out and will amount to SCR11 million ($749,000).
“Normally in the past SFA has not carried out this number of projects within a calendar year, but the new board, together with the new PS and minister, we decided that things should move at a faster pace and we need to deliver and use the fund we get under the SFPA agreement,” he continued.
The chairman of the SFA board, Radley Weber, is encouraging fishermen in different districts to form an association so as to facilitate communication between themselves and the authorities.