Seychelles completes FishPath process in lobster fishery for future harvest strategy

Fisheries |Author: Juliette Dine Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | June 7, 2024, Friday @ 12:30| 2837 views

The Seychelles Fishing Authority recently undertook a stock survey on the Mahe Plateau. (Seychelles Fishing Authority)

Seychelles recently completed the FishPath process for the lobster fishery and is now on its way to preparing a harvest strategy, according to a Seychellois specialist.

The FishPath Network provides a platform for exchanging knowledge and sharing lessons, with an aim to produce concrete products that directly support small-scale fisheries.

Over the last three years, the lobster fishery fishing season has been reduced to two months instead of the usual three due to the reduction in recent catches compared to historical catches.

For 2024, the season remains closed to better understand what is happening to the stock.

The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) recently undertook a stock survey on the Mahe Plateau, which will be presented to all sector partners in June to get an overview of the current situation.

The SFA has been working actively with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) since 2021 to identify challenges and find solutions to develop a harvest strategy for the lobster fishery.

During a scoping mission in 2019, TNC met with Seychelles' government and SFA and it was decided that FishPath will be used to identify problems and solutions with the spanner crab and lobster fishery in the island nation.  

Dr Ameer Ebrahim, a Seychellois fisheries specialist working as a consultant with TNC, is leading the FishPath process in Seychelles.  Ebrahim was invited to become a global FishPath member in 2023, making him the first Seychellois to be given this recognition as a global fisheries expert.

A FishPath visit to an aquaculture facility in Brisbane, Australia. (Dr. Ameer Ibrahim) Photo License: All Rights Reserved 

In Seychelles there has been a tailored approach to the FishPath process, with not focusing solely on the tool but identifying the importance of bringing fishers into the discussion and the accompanying capacity-building and technical support that FishPath brings.

The most recent exercise was done in the first week of May 2024 in partnership with some committed lobster fishermen and the SFA.

According to Ebrahim, one of the concerns raised during the lobster FishPath process was the amount of illegal fishing of lobster, which is affecting the livelihoods of licensed fishers and possibly the stock itself.

"Based on the recommendation output from the FishPath process completed, SFA was presented with a series of options that they could implement. However, before considering any of these, the government will need to determine the most feasible management practices and tailored management measures based on several factors such as budgetary requirements, and technical capacity," he said.  

Additionally to the use of the FishPath tool in Seychelles, the team is providing bi-monthly training to the technical staff at SFA on statistical analysis processes. This will assist with better decision making for the lobster and spanner crab fisheries.

The team has also assisted SFA by providing technical advice on major research activities carried out on the lobster and spanner crab fisheries in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Ebrahim said that in August this year, TNC plans to host a national lobster workshop in collaboration with the SFA for fishers to give their input on the status of the lobster fishery. This will allow Seychelles to move towards building an effective harvest strategy.


Tags: The Nature Conservancy, TNC, FishPath, Seychelles Fishing Authority, Mahe Plateau

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