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Fisheries and Agriculture

Seychelles officially 12th country in SADC Charter |15 July 2023

Seychelles officially 12th country in SADC Charter

A souvenir photograph

The Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Designated Minister Jean-François Ferrari, officially signed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Charter, led by the organisation’s Technical Advisor for Fisheries, Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo, in a ceremony at the Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa, Beau Vallon yesterday afternoon.

The minister signed the paper with a pen that was previously used by eleven other ministers and the paper was signed in three different languages – English, French and Portuguese. The minister then proceeded to hand over the three copies to the director of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR), Mpedi Magosi, on behalf of the executive secretary of SADC.

Seychelles is the twelfth country to officially sign the SADC Charter to establish a regional Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSSC) in Seychelles.

The Charter aims to provide the legal framework for its establishment.

In her opening address, the director general for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Sheriffa Morel, provided the local context, citing that progress has been made in Monitoring Control Surveillance matters such as improving the implementation of trade-related measures to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

It also reorganises the setup of the MCS department to allow the performance of crucial international obligations (Port State Measures in particular) and it will also have improved capacity. There are implementations of new technologies to improve the capacity to supervise fishing activity at sea (EMS, ERS and enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness).

There will be improved integration in Regional MCS initiatives (SADC being a key, IOC, IOTC, SIOFA etc). It will be the main contributor to the ongoing legislative review to close legal gaps and improve and facilitate enforcement.

In his speech, Designated Minister Ferrari noted that the importance of the signing of this Charter is an essential step towards delivering on the commitment that the ministry made since December.“Therefore, on this momentous occasion, the government of Seychelles renews its commitment to the African Agenda and looks forward to further enhancing cooperation and collaboration with the SADC.”

Moreover, he outlined the importance of the critical role that fisheries play in the livelihoods of the Seychellois people, the economy and in the SADC region. “Fisheries has played and continues to play a vital role in the socio-economic development of the Seychelles,” he stated. “It accounts for a large part of exports and is a source of foreign exchange earnings. It contributes to food security and balanced nutrition.”

Additionally, he noted that Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is a significant fisheries crime. This remains, and still is, a major threat to the thriving fishing industry, the minister pointed out.

“The culprits have no regard for our laws or way of life, nor do they consider that the fisheries sector is one of our main economic contributors.” He has stated that to address these challenges, there is modernisation and transformation in the laws and policies and strengthening the relationship with the relevant national and international authorities.

“There is a strong need for Seychelles to explore all opportunities to grow its economic return from fisheries sustainably. This implies the elimination of IUU fishing and a firm commitment to sustainability.”

During the ceremony, there was a promotional infographic on MSCCS by Stanley Ndara, chief executive of Namibian Fisheries Observer Agency and Chair of the Regional Technical Team on MSCSS. The video provided a comprehensive understanding of the MCSCC's work, showing the strides made in combatting IUU fishing and reinforcing the critical need for continued support and cooperation at both national and regional levels.

“It is noteworthy that this video culminates with the powerful statement of commitment made by SADC member states in their collective pursuit of eliminating IUU fishing from our region. This clarion call echoes the strong resolve of Seychelles to sign the charter today, along with other nations, to safeguard our precious marine resources for future generations,” he stated.

For his part, in his vote of thanks, the director general of Regional Affairs, Christian Faure, reemphasised the importance and significance that the signing of the Charter meant for Seychelles and the message of support from the government of Mozambique, rounded off the ceremony to a fitting end.


Sunny Esparon

Photos by Louis Toussaint





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