Seychelles scored 86 percent compared to 80 percent in its IOTC compliance rating. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
Seychelles has improved its compliance rating with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), according to the latest report of the compliance committee, a top official said on Friday.
The principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, told reporters that “this year, Seychelles scored 86 percent compared to 80 percent, last year. This is a great improvement, considering that the average compliance rating of the commission was only 65 percent.”
Clarisse said that “This shows our firm commitment to ensure that we honour our obligations within the commission.”
A delegation from Seychelles attended the 27th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) from May 8-12 in Mauritius.
In the previous meeting in Mombasa, Kenya in February one of the issues discussed was the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs), fish stock, and catching of undersized fish around purse seine fishing.
This resulted in the IOTC voting to adopt a proposal for a 72-day ban on FAD fishing by purse seiners in the Indian Ocean, as the devices have been shown to contribute to overfishing because they attract juvenile fish as well as endangered turtles, sharks and marine mammals that get caught up in purse seiner nets.
Seychelles voted against the proposition and at the meeting in Mauritius, took the same stance.
“Seychelles was pushing for a measure on drifting FADs that is adopted after scientific recommendations have been made. We want the IOTC’s scientific commission, which has been tasked until December 31, to provide advice to the commission. We want the process to be carried out and followed and based on the recommendation of the scientific commission, Seychelles will make its decision,” said Clarisse in a previous interview.
He said the measure was a bit arbitrary and the target was purely for the commercial interest of other parties that do not use purse seiners and FAD fishery.
The proposal is “to ensure that in the end, this type of fisheries is no longer economically viable for the region and this will have a huge impact on Seychelles,” said Clarisse.
Due to the disagreement on that resolution, the IOTC commission has agreed to adopt one that caters to more agreement when a resolution is passed.
In this case, coastal countries have asked that studies are done to determine the socioeconomic aspects as well before passing resolutions.
Clarisse said that the resolution for the 72-day ban has not come into force and is supposed to do so in August.
Fisheries is the second most important industry for the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.