The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is extending the date proposed for local fishermen to register their fish traps, an exercise aimed at understanding the current artisanal fisheries situation, said a top official.
The principal fisheries scientist of SFA, Amir Ebrahim, told SNA that last month, the authority called on fishermen who use fish traps to register them in order to understand how much fishing effort on the Mahe Plateau is directly related to them.
“This is not an exercise to penalise fishermen who have more traps than is allowed at the moment, but rather to gather as much information as possible about the method of fishing,” said Ebrahim.
To date, only three fishermen in the central region of Mahe, the main island, have responded and Ebrahim said that SFA will only be able to get an accurate picture if more fishers register.
The team registering fish traps will be going to Praslin and La Digue soon, while SFA is considering the option of giving a fixed time frame when fishermen can come to register their traps, once the extended deadline ends.
In the exercise, SFA is also gathering supplementary information on the types of vessels, material that is used to make the fish traps, the landing site and the type of fishermen using the traps, whether for commercial or recreational fishing.
Ebrahim explained that the exercise also aims to create a sense of ownership of the fishermen’s properties as each trap registered will have a tag specific to the vessel that it is registered to.
“This way, if the trap is stolen, it will be easier to track them as well,” he added.
The collection of information is part of the Mahe Plateau trap and line fishing co-management plan, which aims to have sustainable artisanal fishing in the island nation in the western Indian Ocean.
Ebrahim said that SFA has found that through “assessing the fish stock on the plateau that there is evidence of overfishing on some of the major plateau fishery species and management intervention is urgently needed.”
As a result, the authority is consulting all those concerned to come up with solutions to balance ecological well-being with human well-being through good governance.
The authority also found that there are fishers who are transitioning from using bamboo to make their traps metal or other materials such as plastic.
“We want to know how many people are using metal, so that we may advise them on better ways to use the metal in traps so as not to affect the ecology,” said Ebrahim.

Source: Seychelles News Agency