(Seychelles News Agency) – A not-for-profit organisation, Oceanika, is calling on industrial fishing vessels to make more effort to remove fish aggregating devices (FADs) after fishing, after the NPO removed 24 fish FADs from Seychelles’ waters.
Oceanika, which has offices in Geneva and Thailand and has recently established one in Seychelles, has set an aim of locating and removing FADs in the waters of the Indian Ocean islands.
The organisation recently spent over 20 days at sea to find and remove the devices mostly used by large tuna fishing vessels.
Olivier Manaut, the chairman of Oceanika Seychelles, told SNA that “having seen the issues with regards to the FADs, which are left at sea and end up drifting to the coast and damaging the sea floor and corals, we decided that we need to do something.”
FADs are man-made, usually floating wooden structures with hanging nets to attract fish and these can either be free floating or anchored to the seabed.
|The Oceanika vessel removing the FADs from the sea. (Oceanika) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
When FADs are left at sea, they can also cause problems for marine life including turtles and sharks can become entangled in the floating nets attached.
The government of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is very attentive to this issue because of the impact of FADs on the marine environment.
Seychelles is recognised by the international community for its work on environmental protection and has worked for a long time with partners to put in place sustainable solutions for tuna fishing and seek all means to minimise the impact of this fishery.
Manaut said that he has been in regular discussion with the Ministry of Fisheries and the fishing companies that have been receptive to these concerns.
One of the areas all parties have agreed on is to have tracking devices on the FADs to make it easier to locate and remove them.
“At the moment, we have to go at sea and look for the buoys attached to the devices, which makes it very difficult and we might miss a lot of them. If we know their exact location, we can then go directly to each one and remove it,” he explained.
Other local organisations helping to remove FADs from Seychelles’ waters are the Islands Conservation Society (ICS) and Islands Development Company (IDC).
Meanwhile, with 24 FADs removed on their latest outing, Manaut said Oceankia has been in contact with local companies who are looking at ways to recycle these devices.
A young Seychellois company called Brikole, is already very active in the recycling of nets, and is a partner of Oceanika for the reprocessing part of the FADs.
“WASTEA, another Seychellois company, is also our partner, helping us with its expertise and its advice, in addition to these processes to eliminate this waste or reprocess it,” said Manaut.