New research points to possibility of sustainable seafood labelling in Seychelles
Researchers in Seychelles have found that 64 percent of people interviewed would like to see the establishment of a sustainable seafood labelling and consumption programme in the island nation.
Such a programme would provide market-based incentives for fishery harvesters, regulators, buyers and consumers to improve sustainable practices.
A total of 33 artisanal fishermen were interviewed on the feasibility of such a programme and to understand the perceived barriers and potential incentives for implementation.
Participants said that such a programme has the potential to increase the price of a broader range of species. Concerns were however raised over how this initiative would be regulated and enforced within the industry. They also pointed out that there is often a lack of control by fishers as to what species they catch.
The lead author of the paper, published in the Frontiers in Marine Research journal, Jessica Glass, summarised the results, saying that the findings are really the first piece of the puzzle.
“We are conducting similar interviews with all stakeholder groups, including retailers and consumers to really understand the implications of a seafood labelling system across the whole value chain. We are hoping this could enable a more informed approach to implementing such programmes in Seychelles and other African SIDS [Small Island Developing States],” said Glass.
Seafood labelling systems are used in countries around the world to provide consumers with information on the status of the fish they eat, enabling them to choose more sustainable options and encouraging fishermen to focus on more sustainable species.
The project leader in Seychelles, Sheena Talma, said that Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, appears as an ideal candidate for a sustainable seafood labelling and consumption programme.
“Small Island Developing States like Seychelles, however, come with their own complex structure of seafood value-chains and socio-economic considerations which are essential to understand if you want an initiative to succeed,” said Talma.
According to the paper, SIDS rely on healthy marine ecosystems, yet these nations are among the most vulnerable to climate change and overexploitation of fisheries resources. Small fisheries resources in particular are critical to food security and economic livelihoods in SIDS.
“The study represents a truly successful collaboration between local and international scientists from the UK, USA, Canada, and South Africa, drawing on individual team member strengths to ensure we maximise the value of this project,” said Talma.