114 devices collected during the FAD watch project |18 April 2023
One hundred and fourteen (114) Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) were collected during the recent FAD Watch project that lasted for 20 days.
The FADs will be stocked in a warehouse belonging to the Seychelles Fishing Authority and they will be sorted out with the help of people already working in the circular economy for waste management.
This was shared by the Minister for Fisheries & the Blue Economy, Jean François Ferrari, upon the arrival yesterday of Saya de Malha, the boat involved in the project.
The team – who included five participants from the Seychelles Maritime Academy, a lecturer and the crew from the Seychelles Coast Guard – returned to Mahé yesterday around noon at the Seychelles Coast Guard base.
Upon the arrival of Saya de Malha, the team was welcomed by President Wavel Ramkalawan, Minister Ferrari himself, Chief of Defence Forces Brigadier Michael Rosette and other guests.
Greeting them at the Fishing Port Berth #4, Victoria, President Ramkalawan, who is also the Patron of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), congratulated them for embarking on this journey and that the expedition has been successful.
He personally thanked them for serving their country and helping the government in its effort to protect, keep the oceans clean and promote sustainable fishing.
Minister Ferrari qualified this mission as a success for many reasons. “It is the first time that Saya de Malha goes so far and stays at sea for three weeks. Many FADs were collected and it is good to point out that if there are so many FADs still in our ocean, it means we have more issues than we thought we have,” exclaimed Minister Ferrari.
He further noted it is the first time that Saya de Malha goes in the region of Astove, Cosmoledo, Assumption and Aldabra. “In the past we did not go to these regions and on Aldabra alone 60 FADs were collected. The students and crew worked really hard and we expect next year we will collect fewer FADs. We will try to establish to whom the FADs belong and those that we cannot use we will try to recycle them as much as possible. I would like to thank the Seychelles Maritime Academy, the crew and the students,” shared Minister Ferrari.
Michael Barbe, lecturer at SMA, is overwhelmed with the response from his students. “The amount of learning that took place in the 20 days is unbelievable. It was emotional when we arrived at Aldabra and when they saw the amount of damage that FADs have caused. They all learned new skills and now it is time for them to share with their fellow friends. The students and the team all worked hard and I am very proud of them. Many students shared they want to go back for another mission.”
Mervin Mathieu, an artist who makes his art through recycling, was also present at the arrival of the boat.
“I am here today to see what we can recycle instead of throwing in the landfill. I want to embark on a programme that can be implemented in schools to teach our children what we can create from litter. With the FADs collected, we have the opportunity to reuse them.”
Lieutenant Kurl Elizabeth shared that the past 20 days was another beautiful adventure. “This is my second trip for such an activity and we anticipated what was going to happen. The only disadvantage were the waves when we had to stop somewhere. We really had to look at the tides before making any decision to stop. We divided ourselves in two teams – one team goes on land, pick up the devices and then the other team comes to get the first team.”
Elna Basset, a student of SMA, confided that being at sea for 20 days was a different experience as a whole. “I learned a lot on how to manoeuver a boat which will help me in my career. Secondly I had the chance to visit the outer islands which is a first in my life. Team work, communication and cooperation helped us complete the mission with success.”
The most memorable moment for Elna is the time spent on Aldabra. “We spent more days on that island and there was raft stuck under a rock and it was very hard to get it out. We had to work intensely to break it free. The condition on the boat was also rough due to heavy tides and we had to face them with strong hearts.”
FAD Watch is a collaborative programme between several organisations with the aim of preventing and mitigating FADs beaching across islands in Seychelles.