Seychelles and other small island nations in the African Union (AU) are looking to set up a fisheries platform that will allow them to join forces in discussions at the international level, said a top fisheries officer on Monday. 
The principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, said that “the platform will allow us to discuss common strategies we have, that we may then take onto the international scene.”
Representatives from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the AU are attending a meeting at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay hotel on Mahe to discuss the way forward in establishing a network aimed at benefitting them in the sector.
“As a leader in the domain, we can bring forward how we can negotiate bilateral and regional agreements and we will give our support to other SIDS,” said Clarisse.
The workshop is being organised by the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-BAR) – an organisation in the African Union that supports and coordinates the use of livestock, fisheries, aquaculture and wildlife resources on the continent.
Since 2014, AU-IBAR has run a fisheries governance project that the European Union is funding. The project has two components and the first one was strengthening institutional capacity to enhance governance of the fisheries sector in Africa, which ended in 2018.
Establishing the platform needed to proceed is the second part of the project which is to enhance sustainable fisheries management and aquaculture development in Africa.
Over the coming three days, the participants will discuss the various ways to establish the platform to deal with their specific needs. They will also develop strategic positions to ensure increased contributions to food and nutritional security, poverty alleviation and economic growth.
Meanwhile, in his opening address for the event, the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, said that the two sectors were very important to the island state.
Fisheries is the second most important contributor to the Seychelles’ economy after tourism.
He announced that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has plans to bid for a leading role for SIDS on the continent.
“There is a commitment by Seychelles to lead,” he said and invited the representatives to either vote for the archipelago or challenge it.
“With some forethought and planning, Seychelles has established a Blue Economy and is now seen as a pioneer. This has been done with the ocean-based sustainable management concept,” added the Minister.
He said that the platform will allow Seychelles to learn how to properly manage its vast marine protected areas.
Attending the workshop alongside the Seychellois representatives are participants from Mauritius, Comoros, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe and Madagascar. The participants are expected to present their recommendations on Friday.

Source: Seychelles News Agency