15th meeting of the Mahé Plateau Trap and Line fishery Co-Management Plan Committee |08 July 2022
‘More fishers should be involved in SFA’s research’
By Roland Duval
Presently in a stock assessment process, the Seychelles Fishing Authority should increase the inclusion of fishers in its research, while encouraging them to film themselves while releasing undersized fish.
The above is part of the recommendations of the Stock Assessment Sub-Committee (SAS) meeting held on June 27 and was revealed yesterday during the 15th meeting of the Mahé Plateau Trap and Line fishery Co-Management Plan Committee.
The 15th gathering was held at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) in the presence of principal fisheries scientist Ameer Ibrahim, chairperson and Praslin Fisher Association representative Darell Green, Bel Ombre Fisher Association representative Rodney Nicole, Recreational Fisher representative Faisal Suleiman, and staff of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) involved in the research.
An initiative of the Ministry of Fisheries, the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), and other stakeholders, including the country’s fishermen community, the first Mahé Plateau Trap and Line fishery Co-Management Plan is aimed at ensuring sustainable fisheries which will provide for our current and future needs, while conserving fish stocks and marine ecosystems.
The Co-management Plan Implementation Committee was set up in January 2019 and is made up of stakeholders that are concerned with fisheries, including the authorities, fishers and fisher associations, fish processing businesses, local non-governmental organisations.
It was gazetted in February 2020, while its regulations were gazetted last year, with the implementation of the regulations set in place in January 2022.
The SAS is responsible to address the concerns raised by stakeholders and fully involve them in the implementation of the plan, and is made up of stakeholders that are concerned with fisheries, including the authorities, fishers and fisher associations, fish processing businesses, local non-governmental organisations.
The main objectives of its meetings are to undertake an overview of the stock assessment process and its general results, to examine the stock assessment of three species – Bourzwa, Zob Gri and Kordonnyen – to determine whether their management should remain the same or be changed, to consider whether other species other than the above-mentioned three should be regulated, and also to provide recommendations to the committee on the management of the Mahé Plateau trap and the line fishery.
The plan document presents the elements of the management plan for the Mahé plateau artisanal trap and line fishery, including the objectives of the management plan, issues facing the fishery, how the plan will be implemented, the management strategies and regulations, the performance measurement system, monitoring, control and a plan review process.
Over the years, a rapid depletion has been recorded in the marine living resources due to unsustainable economic activities, including fisheries, and to deal with the situation and ensure a secure future, it is vital to implement sustainable fisheries measures that leave enough fish in our ocean, protect marine ecosystems, and ensure that people who depend on fishing can sustain their livelihoods.
The fisheries management plan also paves the way towards a sustainable trap and line fishery in Seychelles, through a set of measures to regulate fisheries that apply to different actors in the field, including licensed fishers, recreational and sports fishers and also the consumers.
Background of the Mahé Plateau trap and line fishery co-management plan:
The Mahé Plateau supports a demersal artisanal fishery that is critically important in providing local food security and economic development in Seychelles.
The main species targeted by the hand line fishery are snappers, groupers and emperors whereas the trap fishery targets rabbitfish, parrotfish and emperors.
However, over recent years fishers have raised concerns over decreasing catch rates and sizes of target species, and this has been supported by risk and stock assessments. These assessment results demonstrated multiple lines of evidence that overfishing on some of the major plateau fishery species is likely to be occurring and that management intervention is an urgent need.
Sustainable resource management is also consistent with the vision of the Seychelles government. Consistent with world's best practice the development of this plan followed principles of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), also a requirement of the Seychelles Government's Fisheries Act 2014.
The development of the plan also heavily involved stakeholder consultation and input. This plan document presents the elements of the management plan for the Mahé plateau artisanal trap and line fishery.