Seychelles, under the Third South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project, contracted MRAG Ltd for the Development of a fishery-specific Fishing Fleet Management and Licensing System. Seychelles’ development agenda is linked to the blue economy and a fishery specific licensing system will be one tool for sustainable management of fisheries. Currently only the commercial fishery is well documented, whilst fishing occurs from a number of fleet sectors including hire craft, sports fishing and recreational vessels.
The objectives of the project were to
1. Estimate national fishing capacity across sectors and develop a fishing boat and gear registry;
2. Develop a fleet management plan based on recommended capacity limits for the Mahe Plateau Demersal trap and line fishery;
3. Develop a fishery-specific licensing system that links to the boat and gear registry; and
4. Undertake capacity building, education and awareness.
The first objective began in July 2017 with a Frame Survey by questionnaire conducted by trained enumerators - a census of all boats that fish. The questionnaire captured information necessary for other objectives and data was entered into the fishing boat and gear registry, also including information contained in other national licensing systems for commercial fishing, sports and hire craft. The second objective involved a process of analytical review and reporting to characterise the status of the demersal fishery and inform development of a fleet capacity management plan in line with policy objectives, Frame Survey outputs, and in collaboration with stakeholders through workshops using scenarios and participatory techniques. The third objective included proposing legislative changes for fishery specific licensing as well as database development for the licensing system. The fourth objective cross cut the others and a series of training and communication activities were developed and deployed to engage with and inform stakeholders from fishers to policy makers what options were for discussion.