Stopping Illegal Fishing: Protecting the ‘Blue Gold’ of the Seychelles

The Centre organised a panel discussion in collaboration with the James Michel Blue Economy Research Institute on Wednesday 6th December 2017.

Fish is the most important natural resource of the Seychelles. Rightfully it has been called the “blue gold” of the country. As a natural resource it is not only vital for the Seychellois economy, contributing no less then 30% of the national GDP, and 10% of the employment opportunity. Red Snapper, Tuna or Marlin are also the kings of creole cuisine, and make sure that families and visitors alike end the day with a tasty meal.

Like other natural resources, fish stocks are under considerable pressure. They are threatened by the current level of fishing activities. This calls for more sustainable, future-oriented management of fish stocks in order to ensure their survival. To make things worse, regulations put in place to manage fish are too often not followed by the fishing industry, artisanal or recreational fishermen and foreign vessels abuse the vast Seychellois waters for illegal fishing activities.

The wellbeing of fish in national and regional waters and the future of the Seychelles are in many ways tied to each other. This symposium aims at taking stock about the state of fisheries. It aims at discussing the successes that have been achieved by national bodies such as the Seychelles Fishing Authority, non-governmental organisation active in nature conversation, fishing associations, the Blue Economy Department or the Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning project, as well as regional organisations and initiatives, such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the Indian Ocean Commission’s project SmartFish, or Fish-I. But the goal of the symposium is also to identify what needs to be done better by the Seychelles government and society, as well as all users of the sea. What are the areas that can be improved on a national level, and where can Seychelles act as a regional leader?

This afternoon event discusses the importance of fisheries for the blue economy of the Seychelles and the challenges of regulating fisheries and stopping illegal fisheries. These challenges will be discussed across two panels with speakers from the Seychelles and abroad.