The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is to see a boost in fish aggregating devices (FADs) management capacity within local waters through the signing of an agreement with leading tuna fishing companies and tuna processors in the Indian Ocean.
The agreement was signed on Monday to formalise and concretise the collaboration of SFA, Sustainable Indian Ocean Tuna Initiative (SIOTI), and the Spanish Association of Tuna Freezers (AGAC) on a project designed to intercept drifting FADs in Seychelles.
Called the FAD Watch initiative, the project is a multi-sectorial initiative developed to prevent and mitigate FAD beaching across islands in Seychelles. Under the initiative, interception of drifting FADs can be made before they run the risk of getting stranded in the island nation’s shallow marine habitats.
SFA’s interim chief executive, Philippe Michaud, who signed the agreement, said that “the whole idea of having this cooperation is to make sure that the impact on the environment will be as minimum as possible and is a win-win for both the industry and the environment.”
“The tuna purse seining industry needs FADs to operate and the Seychelles government and SFA want to make sure that FADs are used in the most efficient way and that the negative impacts are reduced and mitigated. This is a start of a very important cooperation that will also help SFA to boost its capacity when it comes to the management of FADs,” said Michaud.
FAD Watch was originally launched in 2016 by the AGAC, together with local island conservation partners and SFA. It was in 2021 that SIOTI joined the project. The continued collaboration with SFA will enable support for further deployment of the Seychelles Coast Guard vessel Saya De Malha.