How Seychelles is Fishing all the Way to the Bank

How Seychelles is Fishing all the Way to the Bank

How Seychelles is Fishing all the Way to the Bank

By / Marine Ecosystem / Saturday, 28 July 2018 23:42

Mahe Island, Seychelles. 4AM. Five bare chested men with baggy shorts and sweaty brows push wooden canoes into the waiting salty arms of the Indian Ocean. Their footsteps form a pattern in the soft sand as their canoe slips smoothly into the hissing ocean. They jump into the canoe and begin paddling. They are eager to tap into Seychelles’ flourishing blue economy.

Once out in the vast open ocean, they unfurl the large bunch of net that sits patiently on the canoe’s wet wooden floor. An ocean wind wipes away the sweat on their brows. Their hearts beat excitedly as the net lands in the swooshing waves and spreads out, ready to catch the fish that will be unfortunate enough to swim in that direction.

Fish don’t just provide food for the one hundred thousand Seychellois – they also keep the national economy in place and in shape.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa revealed in a report that fish exports contribute to 52 percent of Seychelles’ exports. As such, they are responsible for more than half of the country’s export revenue. This is no surprise since as an archipelago of 115 islands, the marine ecosystem runs through the country’s veins. In addition, Seychelles’ marine exclusive economic zone is 1.4-million square kilometres, which is almost 3,000 times the size of its land area.

Seychelles FishA Wide Assortment of Fish from Seychelles WatersAfter several hours of braving the cold ocean winds, the five bare chested fishermen know that they have hit a marine home run. Their net is teeming with fish. There are large rabbit fish whose bulky appearance means that they are over ten kilos. One of them is really itching to break free. It’s mouth twitches, it’s eyes flash angrily. Evidently, it is extremely unhappy to be in the net. Next to it are about a dozen oil fishes, mackerels that bear an unfortunate resemblance to snakes. Mingling with the oil fishes are whipfin mojarras, also known as whipfin silver-biddy. These are fish that you are unlikely to find at a dinner table but are plenteous in Seychelles’ ocean waters.

Several hours later when the fisherman dock back on the shore with their boat heaving under the weight of their fish, they even find three medium-sized stingrays in their catch. These are flat-bodied fish with wing-like fins. A quick count reveals thirteen different fish species twitching in their net, ready to be hauled to local fish markets and subsequently to kitchens and dinner tables all over Seychelles.

The World Bank reveals that, ‘Our oceans provide everything from food for billions around the world, to protecting communities and economies from storms—bringing it at least $1.5 trillion to the global economy every year.’

Indeed, Seychelles has the potential of increasingly tapping into this $1.5 trillion through the fishes that swim and swarm its salty ocean waters.

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DJ Bwakali

DJ Bwakali

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