Rise in demand for local fish value-added products in Seychelles

Fisheries |Author: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | May 13, 2024, Monday @ 16:19| 2200 views

A variety of fish products developed by the Seychelles Fisheries Authority and sold in a bazaar.

(Seychelles News Agency) - There has been a rise in demand for fish-based value-added products in Seychelles over the years and there is a need for more of these types of products in the market, according to a top official of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).

The head of the Product Development and Quality Assurance Department, Margaret Ally, told SNA, "As people grow more conscious of and concerned about their health, we have observed a rise in interest in and demand for fish products among our locals when we do promotional campaigns."

Ally said that through activities with school students, "we notice the shift in the mindset of fish and fish products as they become more appreciative of the many products that can be derived from fish and still taste good. The products' availability and supply, however, may still be constrained."

She emphasised that many people like this idea because of the convenience, especially on a day-to-day basis and it is much easier to purchase fish cubes than to purchase a whole fish to clean at home but any value addition will increase the price.

Through a promotional campaign, SFA found out which products people enjoy the most, however, Ally admits that there is more work to be done before this concept is fully integrated in the country.

She said the industry saw the development from one canning factory to nine other local licensed fish exporters. Their products vary but are mainly fresh whole or loins of tuna and demersal fin fish.

"In terms of the local market, we've noticed that consumers appreciate the added value products like fish burgers, smoked fish, and fillets, which are healthier options and convenient for the community. Much more work remains and it also depends on market acceptability, which can take some time. With the allocation of land and processing facilities, as well as through campaigns, the government continues to support and encourage the development of value addition," added Ally.

The demand is high and, as of yet, local production is not enough for the actual demand.

"A lot is being done by local businesses to put added-value products on the market, but we can still see imported and non-seafood products dominating the retail shops, so no, until fish products as fresh, healthier options for our population dominate the local retail shelf, there are not enough fish-added-value products," said Ally.

She added that the fish processing sector plays a major role in Seychelles' economy, and the canning to fish exportation excluding processors for the local market, have played a role in the flow of foreign exchange.

Ally said the importance of the fisheries sector was evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only for export but also for how the fishermen and fish processors were ensuring the supply of fish in the retail shops.

"We have seen many people willing to venture into the business of fish value-added products, creating wealth opportunities. We have Zone 14 at Ile du Port for value addition, which will create job opportunities and further the development of our economy. We also have the export of sea cucumber. It is important to note that any process done to the fish from the moment it is caught is a form of value addition," she said.

Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.  

Tags: Seychelles Fishing Authority, value-added products


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