As from August 2019, the government of Seychelles will be issuing licenses for the farming of five rare marine species. This will also officially lead to the launch of the aquaculture industry in the nation. Consequently, the cabinet of Ministers has approved the aquaculture regulations. According to Aubrey Lesperance, a Seychelles Fisheries Authority (SFA) top official,
“The next step is to send the same to the Attorney General for verifications to ensure that all is in order and that these regulations are not in conflict with other regulations.”
‘Aquaculture’ is a term for every activity involving rearing, breeding, and harvesting of marine plants and animals. Foreign investors will need to wait a little longer to get an aquaculture license. According to Lesperance, issuance of licenses will consider only Seychellois investors in the beginning. However, as soon as it is fully operational, foreign investors can come in.
“We will issue a license for each species. And these will be for finfish such as red snapper and grouper, two subspecies of trevally as well as sea urchins. Government is all for private and foreign direct investments in aquaculture. With the current moratorium on the development of big tourism establishments, we are hoping that foreign investments in aquaculture will boost up foreign income earnings for the country.”
Why Seychelles need aquaculture regulation
Like every other sector, it was necessary for Seychelles to have a regulation guiding the aquaculture industry. If allowed to operate without regulations the island nation risks losing their rare fish species. This is particularly important because the aquaculture industry is opening for commercial activity. In a similar statement, Lesperance said,
“Now, we are in a better position to participate in different markets locally and internationally to actively advertise for investments whilst before we could only do education and promote the project.”
Consequently, SFA is planning to commission a facility at Providence for broodstock, acclimation, and quarantine in August. Providence is an industrial zone east of Mahe’s main island. The design of the facility is in line with international best practices. The location of the facility is also close to the Seychelles Fisheries Authority building.
Plans for the aquaculture industry
It appears the close proximity to the aquaculture facility to SFA building is to ensure proper monitoring of the broodstock. The SFA wants to make sure the broodstock or mature breeding stock is well cared for. This includes making sure they can adjust to captive conditions, have fewer disease problems, as well as spawn and produce good numbers of high-quality eggs. According to the Seychelles Fisheries Authority, the license will also stipulate how far offshore the fishing activity will take place. The license will also regulate the amount of fish each farm will produce. Lesperance said,
“Gradually as the sector develops, next year we will explore farming of other species such as the mud crab, ornamental fishes for the aquarium as well as experimenting with growing of corals as some NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are already involved in coral replanting.”