New FAO project to enhance livelihoods, food security and maritime safety launched |16 November 2021
A new Food and Agriculture Organisation project aimed at enhancing livelihoods, food security and maritime safety through increased resilience of fishing communities dependent on coral reef fisheries in the African coastal countries of the Indian Ocean – REEFFISH Project ‒ has been launched.
The first national steering committee met at Eden Bleu last week to kick off this project.
Principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, recalled that “in August 2019, the then Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture on behalf of the government of Seychelles, signed jointly with the FAO for the implementation of this very important project”.
PS Clarisse added: “This is a regional project encompassing five countries of the Indian Ocean – Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles. Locally, the project was anticipated to initially commence end of 2019. But due to delays and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the project is only now being initiated. The project is part of FAO’s Blue Growth Initiative that aims at supporting more productive, responsible and sustainable fisheries, and aquaculture sectors by improving the governance, and management of the aquatic eco-systems conservation of biodiversity, and habitats. It also aims at empowering communities to take part in the management, conservation, and restoration of the coral reef ecosystems on which they depend, and will use this approach at reconciling economic growth with improved livelihoods and social equity, and strengthening transparent, reliable and more secure food systems. All five countries of the region and engaged in this project are abundantly blessed with stunning coral reef eco-systems which sustain rich bio-diversity and a large coastal population that depends on them directly or indirectly.
Designated Minister and Minister for Fisheries, Jean-François Ferrari, commended this effort and urged all the stakeholders to consult before choosing the areas for the project.
“We look forward to working with you as partners for this good common goal and also for the contributions from different stakeholders. We are also thankful to the government of Japan for their support,” said Designated Minister Ferrari.
Japanese chargé d'affaires, H.E Ambassador Makoto Tominaga, congratulated Seychelles for moving a step forward with this project and how his government is ready to help Seychelles in marine safety.
He also talked about the challenges Seychelles as a small island state is facing and might be facing in the future and how by doing this project will help us remain sustainable and restore our ecosystems.
The project aims to provide solutions to preserve this resource base for future generations, by improving coral reef fisheries production for food security, restoring fragile ecosystems and helping fishing communities to better manage their coral resources.
The overall impact of the project is "resilience of coral reef fishing communities" by targeting the following outcomes:
- Outcome 1: Improved management of fisheries around coral reefs and FADs, both for restoration and protection and for income generation.
- Outcome 2: Improved fisheries value chains and market access for coral reef and FAD fisheries products.
- Outcome 3: Reduction of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and enhancement of maritime safety.
The project targets hundreds of artisanal fishers and other fisheries professionals in the five countries, for a total of approximately 30,000 direct beneficiaries.
The Blue Growth Initiative provides a framework with tools and approaches to improve fisheries and manage sustainability along the value chain to meet production needs while contributing to improved livelihoods, food, and maritime security.
Seychelles has a total of 16 marine protected areas which cover an area of 353,380km2. The Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy of Seychelles has identified two main project sites for the project implementation which are represented by Silhouette island and the Anse Royale bay.
Another site represented by the island of Curieuse is also targeted by the project for the MPA delimitation.
A project team has been appointed for Seychelles, and in continuation of the actions carried out during this year and in accordance with outcome 1 and the terms of the project relative to the institutional framework and coordination, the country is responsible for the organisation of: - a national steering committee (NSC) that will meet once a year for the entire project period. The members of the NSC of Seychelles have been officially nominated by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy.
The objectives of the first meeting of the national steering committee are to: present the general objectives and activities of project at the national and the regional levels; present the project team, the key documents and work plan and the summary of the annual budget for the next 6 months; present the project sites and the challenges and opportunities; identify potential synergies outputs.
The national steering committee is expected to realise the following outputs: well inform national steering committee members on the project objectives and outputs; well inform members on the work plan and annual budget for 2021 and activities to be undertaken; and partners and beneficiaries are identified.