The fisheries policy of the Republic of Seychelles
The fisheries policy of the Government of Seychelles was first drafted in 1986. At that time, both the industrial and artisanal fisheries in Seychelles were in a developmental stage and the policy reflected the needs to promote both the development and conservation of our marine resources as well as maximizing benefits. In 1985 the number of licenses issued for the industrial tuna fishery was 49 for the purse seiners and 165 for longliners with an annual purse seine catch of 130,000 tonnes. The total catch for the industrial purse seine fishery has continued to rise and peaked at around 407, 000 tonnes in the year 2003. The artisanal fishing fleet has declined from 410 vessels in 1985 to 330 in the year 2003, however, the nature of the fleet has changed dramatically. The artisanal fleet is now entirely mechanized and consists of larger and better equipped vessels with improved safety facilities. The total annual catch of the artisanal fishery has remained relatively constant since fisheries data has been collected, however increasing effort in terms of mandays at sea and the more accurate positioning systems currently used are a cause for concern. Lower recruitment of fish stocks and localized over-fishing has been noted in some of the fisheries data sectors. The change in both the industrial tuna fishery catch and the artisanal fleet composition is a direct reflection of the rapid rise of technological innovations to improve fishing effectiveness. In addition, the development of new fisheries and marine resource related operations such as the semi-industrial long-line fishery, crustacean fisheries and aquaculture have taken place. From the relatively simple fisheries, in terms of gear, positioning and fish finding technologies, in the mid eighties, fishing operations have progressed significantly to include modern fishing equipment, gears and improved boat design, with the support and development of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA). With respect to the goals and objectives outlined in the 1986 Fisheries Policy in relation to development, management and research, the SFA has managed to achieve 2 these, within the present framework of the fisheries legislation and management policies. In the light of these, and other developments, a decision was taken to reformulate the Fisheries Policy and to bring it more in line with the changing nature of all aspects of fisheries in Seychelles. To continue maintaining the sustainability of all fisheries undertaken in Seychelles waters, increased emphasis needs to be placed on manpower development, monitoring, control and surveillance, research and management. Nevertheless the main points indicated in the past policy are still relevant and have been refined and expanded upon where necessary to reflect the move towards a fisheries policy that encompasses all present and future aspects of fisheries in Seychelles. Needless to say, this policy will be reviewed and updated whenever required to take into consideration new developments which may arise.
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