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J. Nageon de Lestang
Seychelles Fishing Authority
Box 449, Victoria, Mahé Island, Seychelles


The 100 or so islands making up the Seychelles have a surface area of only 443km2. The combined length of coastline is 600km. Moreover the islands are endowed with poor soils and few primary natural resources. By contrast, the country's vast economic zone covers an area of over one million sq. kilometres and are located on one of the most productive fishing grounds in the South-West Indian Ocean (Figure 1). In addition to extensive pelagic resources, the Seychelles, unlike other island states in the region, has a large continental plateau rich in demersal resources (Figure 2).

The plateaux have steep sides which rise rapidly from around 1000m. The Mahé Plateau is surrounded by a narrow shallow rim around 10–20m deep which surrounds a central area of about 50– 65m depth with sub-surface granite and coral outcrops forming small banks. The majority of the population of 80 000 live on the three main granitic islands (Mahé, Praslin and La Digue - Figure 2) whilst the coralline islands are sparsely populated (Table 1). The remaining islands and plateaux to the south and west of the Mahé Plateau are all coralline in nature and include the Amirantes Plateau, the Alphonse group, Providence and Farquhar group and the Aldabra-Cosmoledo group. Most of the local fishing activity is centred on the Mahé and Amirantes Plateaux with occasional fishing trips targeting specific species (for example sharks) to the Southern group of islands, the furthest (Providence and Farquahar groups) being more than 700km from Mahé.

Table 1

The total and fishable areas (km2) of Seychelles banks and plateaux at shallow (0–75m) and intermediate (75-100m) depth strata and length (km) of the 100m depth contour, (Mees 1998)
Location/strataShallow strataIntermediate strata
Mahe Plateau    
- Inshore 6000.0  
- Offshore 6500.0  
- Trawlable 14000.0  
Outlying islands, plateaux and banks
Banks S of MP, including Platte2198.61619.6542.6135.3
Amirantes Plateau inc. Desroches3999.02399.4455.6135.8
Grand total49744.831799.62730.8823.0

Figure 1

Map showing Seychelles EEZ with detail of the islands: Mahe, Praslin and La Digue

Figure 1

No scientific surveys have been done on shark population in Seychelles waters. Though many studies have been conducted to estimate fishable biomass of the Seychelles banks (Tarbit 1980), none were done for the shark fishery. The coastal demersal fisheries are considered to be overexploited whilst unexploited potential still exists on the outer Mahé Plateau and Banks off the southern island groups. As a consequence there has been certain developments aimed at developing the fishery further offshore. However these have been limited by the need for large capital requirements. Hence the fishery beyond the Mahé and Amirantes plateaux remains limited compared to the increasing fishing pressure on the inshore resources.

Figure 2

Map of Mahe Plateau and Amirantes plateau showing the major fishing banks

Figure 2


2.1 Species composition of the fishery

The most common sharks caught by artisanal fishermen are the Spot tail shark (Carcharhinus sorrah) and the Grey Reef Shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos). A complete list of the common sharks found in the Seychelles is provided below.

Scientific NameCommon Name
Carcharhinus albimarginatusSilvertip Shark
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchosGrey Reef Shark
Carcharhinus brachyuruCopper Shark
Carcharhinus brevipinnaSpinner Shark
Carcharhinus melanopterusBlacktip Reef Shark
Carcharhinus sorrahSpot Tail Shark
Carcharhinus longimanusOceanic Whitetip Shark
Carcharodon carchariusGreat White
Galeocerdo cuvieriTiger Shark
Loxodon macrorhinusSliteye Shark
Triaenodon obesusWhitetip Reef Shark
Ondontaspis tricuspidatusSand Tiger Shark
Sphyrna mokarranGreat Hammerhead
Sphyrna zygaenaSmooth Hammerhead
Ginglymostoma brevicaudatumShortail Nurse Shark
Ginglymostoma ferrugineumTawny Nurse Shark
Rhynchobatus djiddensisViolin Shark
Rhinobatos blochiSand Shark
Rhincodon typusWhale Shark

2.2 Nature of the fishery

The Seychelles artisanal fishery operates on the Mahé Plateau and offshore banks; the fishery targets mostly demersal species and to a lesser extent sharks. Sharks are mostly caught at the drop-off of the Mahé Plateau, a distance varying between 50 to 150km from Mahé. The inshore fishery for sharks targets the sandy flats outside the reefs and the reef psses where pregnant female sometimes come to bear their young. Certian larger decked vessels would occasionally make trips of 6 to 8 weeks to the Sothern islands, targeting shar both for the salt meat market and for the fins. The industrial and semi-industrial fishery whicgh targets tuna and tuna-like species operates both within and outside the Seychelles EEZ, covering the Western Indian Ocean. The fishery is primarily comprised of foreign owned vessels.

The shark fishing industry in the Seychelles dates from the early 1920s and mainly produced dried salted shark meat that was sold to the island people of East Africa and the Far East. The quality of the product at that time was often poor. In the 1950s demand arose for higher quality dried and salted shark meat and both producers and importers made a conscientious effort to improve their methods of processing and packaging shark meat. A number of operators in the Seychelles also reacted to this new demand with attractive prices and were successful in developing a superior product. Several inter-island cargo schooners were converted to shark fishing vessels and were chartered by prospective investors.

As many cargo vessel use the Seychelles as a port of call when travelling across the Indian Ocean to Africa or Asia, the exporters had no difficulty in marketing their improved product (Travis 1990). Increased demand led to a larger number of vessels entering the fishery and Travis (1990) notes that by the end of the 1950s shark stocks on the Seychelles plateau and nearby banks were showing strong indications of depletion due to over-exploitation. Travis reported that after a couple of years of shark fishing they had cleared the most accessible areas of large sharks and the only alternative were to fish the more distant banks such as the Saya de Malha, Nazareth or even Chagos. By late 1950s the dried shark meat export industry had virtually ceased, due to a drop in prices as well as catch rates.

During the first few months of 1992 there was a dramatic rise in the price of sharks fin on the Far East market (Hong Kong in particular) with prices quoted in excess of $50/kg for dried fins. This prompted the Research Department of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) to investigate the possibility of reviving a shark industry in the Seychelles (Bean 1992). A two-month programme of shark catching and marketing was carried out using the 17m research vessel “Etelis”. Efforts were made to contact buyers who had carried out the dried meat trade with East Africa in the 1950's and several representatives of the artisanal craft industry were interviewed in order to create a demand for hides, teeth, jaws, etc. (Figure 3).

Due to the low value of shark meat, at present shark landings as a rule do not form a significant part of the total fish landings though certain species are consumed locally. Sharks however are generally caught for their fins. Table 2 gives the estimated figures for sharks and rays landings from 1985 to 1996. In addition to the fins and to some meat being kept, the larger shark teeth and jaws are sometimes prepared for sale to tourists as are shark backbones that are made into ornamental walking sticks. From the 1960s the shark fishing industry has remained primarily a bycatch industry because, in part, to the low commercial value and the fact that Seychellois fishermen were not keen in mixing sharks with other fish species in the fish hold for reasons of contamination.

Figure 3

Annual landings of major fish groups by the artisanal fishery

Figure 3
Table 2

Landings of sharks and rays by the Seychelles artisanal vessels 1995-1996
YearQuantity (tonnes)

Source SFA Artisanal Bulletin.

2.3 The harvesting process

Seychellois fishermen fish for sharks with handlines or set gillnets. Set gillnets are placed mostly inshore where shark and rays are a directed fishery. The standard shark net is generally around 50m long (but they can go up to 80m) and 7m deep (30 meshes). The net is made of polypropylene twine of No. 36 thickness with standard mesh size of 6in (streched). Shark nets are usually placed overnight on flat sandy bottoms either just outside the reefs or in the passes (an illegal practice). The nets are either weighted with rocks at interval of every 5m or with leaded rope with heavy weights at both ends.

The industrial and semi-industrial fishery that targets tuna and tuna-like species catch sharks as a bycatch with only the fins collected; the carcasses are discarded. The largest fishery by far is the purse seine fishery with landings of nearly 300 000t of tuna. Analysis of the bycatch from 1982 to 1992 by an observer from ORSTOM (Institut francçais de recherche scientifique pour le développement en corpération) on French purse seiners found sharks comprised 3–4% of the total catch (Coulmance 1995). The shark species most commonly caught as bycatch is the oceanic Whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus),

Foreign tuna longliners also capture sharks as bycatch and often land these species in Seychelles. Figures for landings from 1989 to 1994 are givne in Table 3. The main species landed are the Mako Shark (Isurus spp.). Other species are discarded at sea. Unfortunately no records of bycatch and discards are kept by the longliners.

Table 3

Landings of sharks in the Seychelles by foreign longliners 1985–1995
YearQuantity (tonnes)

Source: SFA Artisanal Bulletin

In the last two years there has also emerged a locally based semi-industrial fishery targeting swordfish and tuna using monofilament longlines. There are presently five commercial vessels involved in the fishery with 311t of swordfish and tuna landed in 1997. Shark bycatch made up 3% of the total component of the catch for the year 1996. This too was discarded at sea with only the fins kept.

2.4 Development and current status of means of prosecuting the fishery

Approximately 380 boats were involved in the artisanal fishery in 1996 (SFA Artisanal Bulletin 1997). This figure includes 181 open fibreglass boats powered by outboards, open wooden whalers, decked wooden schooners and semi-industrial longliners. The fishery shows considerable seasonality in landings.

In 1996 shark landings peaked in January and February with a secondary peak in August – September. Landings minima were reported in March and November-December (Table 4). In 1990, the small boat fishery, operating mostly inshore, accounted for 35% of the shark catch and the remaining 65% was caught by whalers and schooners. An estimated 5000t of fish are landed annually by the artisanal fishing fleet (SFA Artisanal Bulletin). Reported landings for the period 1983 to 1996 for fish, crustaceans and molluscs and for shark and rays are presented in Table 5. By 1996, essentially the whole catch of rays and sharks was caught by the small boat fishery (small open fibreglass boats with outboards) and accounted for 83% of the total catch. Sharks and rays accounted for 1.9% of the total small boat landings by weight (Table 5). Partly in response to initiatives by conservation groups, legislation has just been passed banning the fishing of sharks with nets as of August 1998.

Table 4

Monthly estimated landings of sharks and rays (tonnes) (SFA 1996)
Table 5

Nominal catches in the Seychelles (1983 – 1996) (tonnes)
YearFish, crustaceans, mollusesSharks and rays

2.5 Markets

2.5.1 Introduction

Shark meat and products are marketed both domestically and internationally from the Seychelles. Meat and fins are the most frequently traded products, although markets also exist for jaws, teeth and backbones. The shark meat is of low value although it is used in some traditional recipes and for fish cakes (Shah 1994). Low values for shark meat are principally due to the improper handling of the catch. Sharks contain urea in their blood to maintain osmotic balance. If the urea is removed immediately after catching by bleeding the shark it prevents the formation of ammonia and eliminates the strong ammoniac odour and taste. Failure to do this results in consumer resistance to most shark meat that have not been properly handled as is the case of the schooner fishery.

All the species of sharks listed in Section 2.1 of the report are eaten in the Seychelles except whale, nurse and sand sharks. The most preferred sharks caught in the artisanal fishery include the Hammerheads (Sphyma spp), the Spottail shark (Carcharinus sorrah), the Sliteye shark (Loxodon macrorhinus) and the Violin shark (Rhynchobatus djiddensis). It has to be underscored however that in Seychelles shark meat is considered of low value and is mostly eaten in times of fish scarcity, i.e. in the south east monsoon (June - September). Shark meat is used mainly in some traditional recipes, primarily chutneys or “satini”. It is also used in the fast food industry, e.g. for “samoosas“ or fish balls. In Seychelles, shark meat is seldom used as steaks or for fish and chips as is the case in Europe or Australia.

2.5.2 Revenue from the fishery

The fins are by far the most valuable product obtained from sharks. They are dried and exported mostly to Hong Kong. The total weight of dried shark fins exported during the last 12 years is given in Table 6. The figures in Table 6 indicate that many sharks are only used for their fins and are never landed in Seychelles. This is in particular the case for the foreign dominated industrial purse seine and longline fishery. Hence the combined landings of artisanal and industrial fisheries landings in 1997 (SFA Annual Report) was 2197t (this includes landings from sharks and rays). The 1997 dried fins export data indicate that when converted to wet weight the quantity of sharks caught is about 700 times higher than what is recorded as landed!

Table 6

The quantity (tonnes) and value of dried sharks fin exported from the Seychelles, 1985-1997
YearValue% of fish product exportWeightWet weight
(US $)(tonnes)(tonnes)
198564 40012.15149.30
1986127 00054.23293.75
1987363 200512.11840.97
1988469 400315.651086.80
1989638 000521.271477.08
1990513 400417.111188.19
1991418 400213.95968.75
1992453 000215.101048.61
1993612 400420.411417.36
1994380 400212.68880.55
1995580 000311.00763.89
1996480 000112.00828.00
1997127 400 3.102197.65

Note: Figures for wet weight equivalent calculated using a conversion factor of 1.44% of the wet (live)weight of a shark. Shark fins represents 4.5% of the net weight of shark and after trimming anddrying about 1.44% of the whole weight. This figure is based on results of fishing trials carried outby SFA (Bean 1992) as well as personal communications to the author from shark fishermen.Shark meat is dried and salted but also landed frozen from foreign longliners.

From Table 7 it is evident that much of the shark meat produced in Seychelles is consumed locally, although the figures indicate that there was an increase in landings of sharks from foreign longliners from 1989 to 1994. However, in the last three years (1995–1997) however, there has been practically no landings of sharks by longliners in Seychelles. This can be partly attributed to a decline in the number of longliners calling in Port Victoria (Seychelles), or possibly the vessels have found a better price for these products at other regional ports.

Table 7

Export of sharks from the Seychelles (1985–1995) as compared to artisanal landings of sharks and rays and longline landings of shark (tonnes)
YearShark exportArtisanal landingsLongline landings

Note: Exports include sharks caught by both artisanal and longline vessels and consist offrozen shark meat.

2.6 Economics of the fishery

Shark fishing has always been a costly operation both in terms of human effort and in the expense of fishing materials. This is one of the main reasons why artisanal fishermen avoid targeting sharks as much as possible unless fishing is done in coastal waters using gillnets. Another consideration is that sharks cannot be mixed with other demersal species in the fish hold in view of the contamination (mainly from urea) of the higher valued demersal species.

Trials for shark fishing with the SFA R.V. Etelis was carried out in 1992, (Bean 1992) with all the operating costs as well as the revenue collected recorded. The Etelis made three trips of 11 days to the Mahé Plateau close to the granitic islands and two trips to the Amirantes Islands of 12 and 21 days respectively. The results of the revenues obtained for the three trips are as follows:

Catch results

Trip (1)  
 83kg sharks fins$ 3652.00
 13 assorted jaws$ 260.00
  $ 3912.00
Trip (2)  
 52kg sharks fin$ 2800.00
 2500kg dried$ 500.00
 873 sharks teeth$ 403.80
  $ 3703.80
Trip (3)  
 305.5 kg sharks fins$ 6721.20
 Assorted jaws and teeth$ 400.00
  $ 7121.20
Total value $ 14 737.00
Operating costs for the three trips  
Fuel$ 2979.00 
Salt$ 400.00 
Bait$ 159.60 
Provisions for crew$ 889.80 
Insurance (2 months)$ 1680.00 
50% of gear bill$ 3332.00 
Crew bonus (40% of gross)5894.80 
LP gas$ 90.00 
Total value $ 15 425.00
Net revenue $ 688.00

The study came to the following conclusions:

  1. The shark fishery in Seychelles should remain only a bycatch fishery, i.e. supplementary to the demersal fishery.

  2. It is definitely more profitable to purchase shark fins from local fishermen or the industrial tuna fleet and re-export with a higher profit margin. Not only does this generate foreign exchange but the government can benefit from collection of export duties.

An unmounted standard shark net (50m in length) costs around SR3000 ($600) whilst a fully mounted one with floats and a lead rope costs SR12 000 ($2400). Depending on how often the net is used and on the type of bottom (sandy or coralline) a new net can last 5 to 6 months with regular maintenance.

There are generally 3–4 men on a small boat unit powered by outboard plus one person who stays on land to sell the catch. Crews are paid on a share basis and two main methods are used:

  1. The owner of the boat and net keeps one-third of revenues after expenses are deducted (mainly for fuel). The remaining two-thirds of the net revenue is shared equally among the other crew members including the owner if he happens to form part of the crew.

  2. The second system, which is mostly used around Port-Victoria, is that the boat, engine and net receive one man's share, the remaining shares are divided equally among each of the crew members.

In the case of schooners and semi-industrial vessels when sharks are not target species and only the fins are kept, money earned from sales of fins are distributed as a bonus among the crew.

2.7 The fisheries workforce

There are very few full-time fishermen employed in the industry except for inshore gillnet fishermen targeting sharks and rays, in particular during the months of January and February and during the rough season in August to September. No more than 12 boats with an estimated total crew of 40 full-time fishermen are involved in this inshore fishery. In 1996, 15 licences were granted for vessels using shark nets.

The part-time fishermen involved in the fishery are the remaining commercial fishermen working in the artisanal fishery, i.e. roughly 1000 people. As with all fisheries the shark fishing industry undergone fluctuations in employment corresponding to periods of high and low export market demand for shark and shark products. The 1950s and early 1960s saw the highest number of fishermen involved in the shark fishery as it coincided with a peak in market demand. This dropped considerably in the 1970s and early 1980s when export market declined rapidly. In the last 10 years there has increased partly as the result of the raw materials being more readily available from the exporters has increased partly as the result of the raw materials being more readily available from the foreign purse seiners and longliners calling at Port Victoria. However, for the reason stated above, the increase in export of shark fins has not been followed by similar increase in the workforce involved in the fishery.


3.1 The fisheries in the context of national fisheries policies

All fisheries in the Seychelles are regulated by the Fisheries Act (Act 5 of 1986), the Licences (Fisheries) Regulations (SI 21 of 1982) and the Harbour (Fishing Port) Regulations (SI 58 of 1988). Most matters related to fisheries management are governed by the Seychelles Fishing Authority.

The objectives related to the management of the domestic fisheries can be defined as follows:

There is a need for Government to re-define objectives and policies for the management and development of the fisheries sector taking into consideration equitable access, economic efficiency and sustainability. Future national policies should ensure that the fisheries of Seychelles are managed in adherence to international agreements and codes of conduct for fisheries.

As a rule the shark fishery falls within the context of all national fisheries policies outlined above. With the exception of a ban on fishing for sharks with nets there are no specific regulations controlling shark fishing in Seychelles. Thus, at present, unlike other fisheries, there are no concerns about lack of regulations for this fishery with the general feeling being that stocks are not in immediate danger of over-exploitation. There are presently no quotas or restrictions on the numbers and areas that can be be fished (except for fishing in the Marine Parks and Protected Areas) and there is no control on the export and import of shark products as presently exists for other fisheries (e.g. the marine turtle or crustacean fisheries). Appendices 1 and 2 give an overview of the various management options for the artisanal fishery.

3.2 Objectives for the management of the shark fisheries

Introduction of a ban on catching sharks with nets will pre-empt the need for any possible regulation and the management of the fishery would then depend on the enforcement of this measure. The idea behind this measure is, according to conservation groups, to limit the bycatch of protected species such as marine mammals and turtles that are sometimes incidentally caught in shark nets. This view is in direct conflict with fishermen who feel that the resource potential is good and the need for such a measure is therefore uncalled for.

The ban is also partly based on the concern of international perceptions of the consequences for conservation of these fish. However, as is common in many other fishery management regimes, relatively low priority has been given to management of the shark species in Seychelles (Mees et al. 1998). Very little information is available on the species composition of its catch or the catch size composition. Because information on species and catch composition is lacking, management advice can only be based on overall trends in CPUE. Little advice can be offered on growth over-fishing. There is a real danger if fishing goes unchecked that it could lead to recruitment over-fishing of sharks due to their low fecundity.

3.3 The objectives setting process

Management objectives are first proposed by the Seychelles Fishing Authority in consultation with the fishermen who are the main stakeholders. The proposals are then forwarded to the Minister for his recommendations who in turn presents then to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) after consulting other concerned ministries. Once the IMC recommends the proposal it goes to Cabinet for final approval. After approval of the Cabinet, the Ministry concerned forwards the draft resolution to the Attorney General's office for legal drafting and to be enacted into Law.

The main stakeholders are the fishermen themselves, the fishing companies, boat owners, the processing plant, the exporters and the Fishermen's Association. In most cases not all stakeholders are explicitly consulted due to problems of communication and time constraints. The decision process for setting objectives in the fisheries sector is illustrated in Figure 4.

3.4 Discussion

In defining management objectives and policies for the fisheries sector, and management and development actions to achieve these objectives, it must be recognised that fisheries management in Seychelles is socially and technically complex. There is a strong tradition of open access with fishing right assumed by all Seychellois. In addition to commercial fishermen, a significant recreational fishery exists. Different stakeholders will interact with each other. The various stakeholders will have different ideas about conservation and management. The problem of equity of access, resource rent and efficiency have so far never been considered.

Since the fishery is multi-species and is exploited by various types of vessels and gear they interact with each other. The resource varies considerably in its nature, from demersal (sedentary) stocks to highly migratory pelagic species with different management characteristics. Management is usually based on single species resource assessment and thus becomes complicated in the multi-species context. The multi-gear nature of the fishery, such as the shark fishery with different efficiencies, costs and earnings, complicates any economic analyses of the fishery.


4.1 Identification and evaluation of policies

In Seychelles there is a strong tradition of open access fishery with fishing rights open to all Seychellois. However, all commercial fishing boats however are required to obtain a fishing licence and in addition specific licences are required for fishing with nets and for lobster fishing. In reality, only about 50% of the commercial fishermen are licensed. Hence the lack of enforcement is a crucial problem in implementing any policy decision. In addition to commercial fishermen, a significant recreational fishery operates, with no licence requirements. These different ‘resource users’ interact with each other.

Figure 4

Decision making process - enacting new Legislation

Figure 4

In contrast to the local artisanal fishery the foreign fishery is more strictly controlled. All foreign fishing vessels must be licensed to fish in the Seychelles EEZ and licences are only granted for pelagic species namely tuna and tuna-like species, of which shark form an important part of the bycatch (4%). Foreign fishing vessels are banned from operating in restricted zones within the EEZ. These are areas less than 200m deep or within the 12 mile territorial waters around the small coralline islands.

4.2 Policies adopted

4.2.1 Resource access

With few exceptions Seychellois fishermen are allowed to fish any where in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone. The only restricted areas for the local fishermen are:

  1. The marine parks located mostly near the main granitic islands

  2. Protected areas where fishing with nets is prohibited.

The Marine Parks are patrolled on a regular basis by park rangers whereas protected areas, as a rule, fall under the jurisdiction of the Seychelles Fishing Authority and the Seychelles Police. Local fishing licences cost SR 125 ($25.00)/yr/boat but there is little monitoring and/or enforcement of this regulation.

4.2.2 Gear restrictions

A new Regulation has come into effect on 1 August 1998 banning the use of gillnets for catching sharks. This ban appears to be based partly on concerns of environmental groups for the conservation of this group of species. It is anticipated that this ban will be difficult and costly to enforce and will therefore most likely be ineffective. The regulation will affect approximately 12 boats (fishing units) that utilise gillnets for shark fishing. With the exception of the proposed ban on shark net fishing, there are no other explicit regulations controlling shark fishing in the Seychelles.

4.2.3 Vessels regulations

There are no specific regulations in relation to vessels in the Fisheries Regulations. However, since all boats targetting sharks are considered “commercial vessels” they must possess a valid fishing licence. New regulations are presently being proposed that would ensure that all fishing vessels meet a minimum safety standard.

4.2.4 Biological regulation

Except for the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, which is unofficially considered a protected species, there are no existing biological or conservation regulations. The whale shark is sometimes incidentally caught in gillnet and usually released if still alive. A study by an environmental group is being carried out in Seychelles, tagging whale sharks.

4.2.5 Catch/quota regulations

There are no catch/quota regulations and effort is uniformly distributed in Seychelles waters.

4.2.6 Discussions

Should the ban on fishing for sharks with nets be enforced it will pre-empt the need for any possible management regulations. The key to managing the fishery will become one of enforcement. The main weakness with this policy decision however is that there has been few consultations with the stakeholders themselves - the fishermen - rather pressure has been exerted by environmental groups looking at the tourist or ecological viewpoint. Statistics demonstrate that the actual number of marine mammals and/or turtles incidentally caught by gillnets is low (no more than 3 to 4/yr) with a majority of catches being in the turtle breeding season i.e. from October to December. Hence it would be more effective if a ban on shark netting was imposed only during these three months of the year. In short, there is a need to review this decision and to introduce a better management plan. However, to achieve this there is a crucial need to obtain more accurate information on the seasonality of the fishery, the number of fishermen using shark nets and the landings of shark and shark fins by gear types and sector.

There are some other unresolved issues concerning the shark fisher:

  1. Fishermen using ice preservation and targetting demersal species and who utilise only the sharks fins, discarding the shark carcasses at sea.

  2. There is no export market for shark meat since the 1960s.

  3. Sharks caught by foreign purse seiners are discarded at sea sometimes without removal of the fins.

  4. No accurate statistics exist of shark catches from both the artisanal and industrial fisheris.


5.1 Provision of resource management advice

Responsibility for the management of living marine resources rests with the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resouces. The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) is the executive arm of this Ministry responsible fo submitting recommendations and advice to the Minister. In many instances this has been done on an ad hoc, and mostly re-active, basis. In the case of the shark fisheries, no specific study has been carried out, except for three trial fishing trips carried out by the Seychelles Fishing Authority research vessel Etelis in 1992 (see section 2.5). However the present Fisheries Act (Fisheries Act 1986) (Appendix 3) states that the SFA shall prepare and keep under review plans for the management and development of fisheries. In the preparation of this Fisheries Management and Development Plan, SFA shall consult with local fishermen and other stakeholders.

In February 1998 FAO consultants conducted a study of an Inshore Fisheries Management Strategy for Seychelles (Mees, Shotton and Margueritte 1998 a,b). The various stakeholders in the fishing industry were consulted (including the Seychelles Licensing Authority, the Police, Coastguard, the Attorney General's office etc.) The Management Plan developed for each fishery will be put to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for approval and final recommendations will be made in the forthcoming months (Ref. attached).

5.2 Fisheries statistics

5.2.1 Methods of collecting catch and effort data Artisanal fishery

In the artisanal fishery a total of 13 staff are involved in the day to day activities of the collection of catch and effort data for the catch assessment survey of the artisanal fishery; 6 fishery field workers, 2 senior field workers, 2 data technicians, 1 research technician and one biologist/ statistician who manages the catch assessment survey. The field workers collect fish landing data each day at various sampling sites. At the end of each month the completed forms are collected, checked and entered into a databse and verified prior to analysis. Quality control control checks are made on fishery field workers at landing sites on a random basis.

The artisanal catch assessment survey has been well designed and has successfully achieved its objectives, providing timely catch and effort data on the artisanal fishery of the Seychelles. However, there is room for improvement in the estimates of individual species although this may be challenging in light of the fact that the artisanal fishery involves more than 100 species. Alas, sharks are aggregated under one heading with no breakdown even of the most important species.

However the system is capable of providing accurate and timely information such as the number of vessels and timely information such as the number of vessels by type and gear operating by site on a monthly basis and total catches etc., which are essential for day-to-day management decisions and planning purposes.

The information that is obtained is used to its fullest in assessment studies for the demersal fisheries resources and will inevitably be the most important database for time series analysis of catch, effort and CPUE data in the future. The most important step in the future will be to use the available information derived from the catch assessment survey and associated stock assessment projects to develop coastal fisheries management plans for the Seychelles (Grandcourt 1996). Industrial fishery

There are two main fishing techiniques utilised by the foreign industrial tuna fleet for catching tuna in the Western Indian Ocean - purse seines and longlines. Both methods catch a considerable amount of sharks as bycatch (2–5%). Licensed foreign vessels have to comply with fisheries regulations imposed by the Seychelles Fishing Authority, the most important of which are the completion of daily catch and effort forms that specify the position, number of hours spent fishing (or number of hooks used for longliners) and the species caught. Unforunately, due to lack of space on the log sheet, shark species are lumped into one category. At the end of each fishing trip the logbooks are collected by inspectors and the information computerised. The acutal landing weight of the fish is accurate final representation of the catch. The Seychelles Fishing Authority has, from its interception in 1983, compiled a considerable databse on the tuna and related pelagic species. This data is published as a quarterly bulletin and used for stock assessment work as well as for management purposes.

5.2.2 Evaluation of the data collection process The artisanal fishery

Small boat survey

The catch assessment survey involves sub-sampling. The total catch is then estimated by raising the values obtained. The accuracy and variability of this technique have been assessed and it was concluded that the overall estimates of catch were acceptable and within 20–30% of measured values. However, greater variability was observed within boat/gear type estimates (30% of estimates were outside the 90% confidence limits) including species caught.

Area stratification

The sampling programme is based on stratification of the landing sites. A comparison of the catches at each geographical stratum has been made which indicated significant differences between strata.

Boat/gear types

Data are collected and analysed by boat/gear type, but the concern exists whether all boat types are represented and whether all the gear types employed are represented? Moreover, there is no other category to allow for new boats that may be introduced. The number of fishermen on foot are well known to fish recorders at primary sites but the numbers recorded for secondary sites may be erroneous. The total number of fishermen is difficult to assess and ‘leisure fishermen’ are not recorded. A total population census is required to determine these numbers and the addition of some questions in the population census relating to fisheries should be further investigated.


The number of sampling days allocated to each site is calculated monthly in proportion to the number of boats existing at each site, thus a greater sampling effort is allocated to primary sites If catch rates differ significantly between primary and secondary sites this would lead to possible errors in the estimates.

Data collection forms

The main data collection form is a summary of the day's fishing activities. Associated errors may occur in the subsequent estimation as a result of boats that land very early in the morning (as is the case for fishermen targeting sharks with nets) may be missed completely. Night fishermen land very early and may be missed that way. In this case, the category ‘Already Landed’ is used (from observations) whether there are any fish on the market. One uncertainty is whether the species composition of night-caught fish differs from that caught during the day?

Landings from larger boats

For the larger boats in the artisanal fleet the practice of fragmented landings could bias both the catch and species composition estimates. Sometimes only certain species from the fish hold are landed according to demand over a period of up to several days. This presents problems to obtaining a representative sample. A possible solution could be to persuade the skippers to allow fishery field workers to sample the hold, though, this may be disruptive and unacceptable to fishermen.

Sport fishery survey

Data in this survey is collected from the Marine Charter where the majority of sport-fishing boats are based. However, certain hotels operate sport-fishing boats and these need to be included in the survey. Another source of error could occur through skippers misreporting catches. The industrial tuna fishery

Although the tuna database is well established with historical data dating from the beginning of the fishery, there are still certain sources of data error that may arise. In the case of purse seiners that transship at sea or in foreign ports, the actual transshipment figures are not always available to compare with the logbook data. In addition there is a considerable amount of bycatch (of which sharks are a major component) that are discarded at sea and hence not recorded in the logbooks. The most effective solution to this problem is to place observers on board the vessels. From 1985-1992 the SFA had an observer programme on tuna vessels but due to lack of funds this programme was discontinued, though discussions are presently ongoing to start a new observer programme. This would also enable accurate data of shark discards, broken down to species level, to be collected.

Although overall catch and effort data obtained from the tuna purse seiners are basically accurate and reliable, the same cannot be said for the statistics from foreign longliners. These have a much wider range of operation and move quickly from one zone to another following tuna schools. They sometimes transship at sea and use many different ports as bases. Thus, whereas 95% of the catch and effort data from purse seiners are collected, less than 25% of the longlining data are recovered and processed. Hence the statistics are based on a very small sample and have to be raised to estimate the mean catch and effort and total catch.

5.2.3 Data processing, storage and accessibility

Shark fishery statistics are compiled together with other species and stored on a database at the Seychelles Fishing Authority. The programme operates on FOXBASE and is menu driven. The data are published annually as a technical report entitled ‘Seychelles Artisanal Fisheries Statistics’. This report is available on request to the Seychelles Fishing Authority Documentation Centre.

Statistical information from the industrial fishery (for purse seiners and longliners) is also stored in a database. The data are published in a quarterly bulletin entitled ‘Tuna Bulletin’ and distributed worldwide. As explained above, shark catches are grossly under-reported and since it does not give an accurate picture of shark landings, the statistics for the shark catches are not specifically reported in the bulletin but recorded in the category “Others” which includes all bycatch.

5.3 Stock assessment

5.3.1 Measures of stock abundance

There have been no scientific studies of stock abundance for assessment purpose. The catch and effort data available are not comprehensive enough for this purpose. No biological data are available. Several resource surveys were carried out in the Seychelles EEZ in the late 1970s and early 1980s (Tarbit 1980). The surveys targetted demersal and semi-pelagic fish stocks and the only shark that was caught in large quantities were the Sliteye Shark (Loxodon macrorhinus) which is not a high-value shark species. In this report Tarbit mentions a maximum catch rate for this species of 261/hr on flat sandy bottoms.

Both verbal and written reports of shark abundance can be obtained through commercial fishermen. In the early 1950s an important shark fishery existed at the edge of the Mahé Plateau and on the banks around it with several local schooners taking part. After a few years of intensive fishing catch rates were found to have declined drastically so as to render fishing operations unprofitable (Travis 1990). More recently inshore fishermen have reported an increase in the number of sharks in coastal waters from the East coast of Mahé and Port Victoria. This can be attributed to the considerable discards of fish from transshipping tuna vessels as well as wastes from the tuna canning factory. Consistent catches of large shark specimens, of which the most common species are Tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvieri) and Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena), from fishermen utilising gill nets confirm these reports.

5.3.2 Provision of biological advice and management review process

There is no set biological advice and review process for the shark fishery. Ad hoc discussions have taken place in the last year mostly as a result of conflicts between the different stakeholders (in this case diving or conservation groups and commercial fishermen) prior to deciding on the management measures.

International reviews exist of the tuna stocks but until now data of sharks landings and discards have been mostly neglected. This is bound to change as both national and international pressure will surely spearhead an effort to obtain improved statistical information on bycatches.

In the absence of accurate statistical data, it is difficult to provide objective biological management reference points. Changes in catch rates as reported by fishermen provide only a crude index of abundance.

5.3.3 Sustainability of the resource

Based on currently available information, there is no doubt that inside the Seychelles EEZ shark stocks, both inshore and offshore, are generally in a healthy state. This should continue to be the case as long as there is no large-scale fishery targeting sharks but this situation could change should markets improve for shark meat and its products. In the last decade only a moderate increase in fishing effort has been observed, mostly due to an increasing demand for shark fins from the Far East. Now that this demand seems to have stabilised fishing effort has also decreased.

The status of oceanic sharks caught mostly by foreign purse seiners and longliners - where most shark carcasses are discarded at sea - is more difficult to assess. It would be reasonable to assume that these species form part of a wider Indian Ocean stocks and although there are presently no cause for concern, the long term prospects for these stocks is open to speculation.

5.4 Discussion

5.4.1 The manager's perspective

In the absences of accurate and conclusive statistical data it is difficult to provide accurate management advice to Government and in so doing meet the interests of all stakeholders. In any case much of the advice given is not taken, and it would appear that political consideration override rational biological advice. Hence the decision to ban shark fishing by gillnets has been precipitated by the environmental group with very little regard to the future of the fishermen involved in this fishery. Given the present lack of detailed information on shark stocks, it is difficult for the SFA to justify any particular management policy particularly if the issue is one of bio-diversity or general shark conservation. In view of the political profile of this issue it may be necessary to direct more management resources into monitoring of the shark fishery.

5.4.2 User's perspective

The vast majority of fishermen believe that shark stocks are still in a healthy state and that there is no need to introduce restrictive measures on this fishery. In fact, sharks feature in the fishermen activities in more ways than as a harvested species. A common complaint of line fishermen is of damage to their catch by sharks feeding on the fish once they are hooked. Hence this has a direct effect on the value of their catch. Damáge to traps caused by certain sharks, in particular the Nurse shark (Ginglymostoma spp) is a serious problem for fishermen. Hence from a fishermen's perspective, shark capture is necessary as an element of pest control and other would go further to state that it would reduce danger of shark attack to swimmers.

5.4.3 Evaluation of the management process

The primary management technique for this fishery would be to introduce restrictions or closing of the fishery if there was evidence of over-fishing. The regulatory tool could be closed seasons or closed fishing areas. The fact that the management process does not follow such an approach indicates that it does not function as it should.


6.1 The regulations

The most important regulation directly relevant to the management of the shark fishery for the artisanal fleet is the ban on fishing for sharks with nets that has come into effect on 1 August 1998. (Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations 1998). There are no regulations on shark catches by other fishing techniques nor have any effort limitations or closed season been introduced. However, according to the Fisheries Act (Appendix 2) all nets should be licensed.

For the foreign dominated tuna purse seine and longlining fleet, the vessels are restricted from fishing on the plateau areas and up to 3 miles from the 200 metre isobath. Vessels have to report their position twice a week by radio or fax when fishing inside the EEZ and when entering or leaving the Seychelles EEZ.

6.2 Regulations and the communication process

Net licences are usually granted for a period of one year. As from September 1997 no shark nets licences were renewed and fishermen were warned through the national media that the ban on shark net fishing would take effect as of this year. This regulation will affect approximately a dozen fishing vessels utilising nets for catching sharks (Payet 1997). At this stage it is too early to decide whether the ban will be effective but it will definitely need the co-operation of all fishermen in order to achieve some measure of success. Fishermen have tried to obtain compensation due to loss of earnings and gear but so far none has been granted.


7.1 Legal status

Basic Fisheries Legislation in the Seychelles consists of the Fisheries Act (1986) and Regulation 1987 (Appendix 3), the Licences Act 1987 and Regulations controlling fishing activities both for the local and foreign fleets. The Minister for Agriculture and Marine Resources has been vested with the overall responsibility to manage all living marine resources within the Seychelles EEZ. The law sets the legal framework and structure and gives the Minister the powers to prepare and implement management plans for various fisheries. The mandate for fisheries management is vested exclusively in the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) which also has the authority to negotiate fishing agreements and to establish the conditions of fishing licences. The Licensing Authority is required to consult the SFA and the Minister before issuing a licence and the SFA's permission is required to transfer a licence. Other relevant legislation includes the Maritime Zones Act 1997, the Seychelles Fishing Authority (Establishment) Act 1984, as amended and general legislation governing such matters as the Ports Act and the Environment Act.

The Seychelles Fishing Authority, as the executive arm of the Ministry, has designated authorised officers that have the power to stop, board and search any vessels in Seychelles waters. The Police have the power of arrest and prosecution. The Ministry of Defence (of which the Coastguard is a part) is authorised to enforce the Fisheries Law within the Seychelles EEZ. All commercial fishing vessels whether local or foreign, must be issued a licence from the Seychelles Licensing Authority.

The Fisheries Regulations also include a number of conditions meant to ensure compliance, especially by foreign vessels, that are restricted to fishing only pelagic species i.e. tuna and tuna-like species (including sharks). Twice weekly reporting of position is required as a standard provision of bilateral agreements and the Fisheries Legislation. Additional licence conditions include the appointment of a local agent, maintenance of logbook and filling of written reports, marking of vessels and permitting inspection and observers to board. Local vessels have less stringent general conditions with no restricted zones and open access to all areas of the EEZ except for Marine Parks and Protected Areas.

7.2 Enforcement problems

Enforcement is legally complicated in that the SFA does not have complete enforcement powers. It does however have the power to request reports and make inspections and uses this to monitor activities. Some of the SFA's officers have been designated as Authorised Officers in order to enforce the Fisheries Act but the Police and Coastguard have the principal enforcement responsibility. These officers however sometimes lack the technical expertise and proper knowledge of the law, hence the Police feel that according to the Fisheries Act they were not intended to enforce the Fisheries Regulations. Other important problems include financial and manpower constraints and the large surface area of the Seychelles EEZ that should be patrolled.

7.3 Surveillance

7.3.1 Local fishery

According to the Fisheries Act (1986), if the Authorised Officers have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence under this Act has been committed they may, without a warrant, seize and detain any vessel that they believe have committed an offence. They do not, however, have the power of arrest. Any local fishing violation deemed serious enough for arrest procedures requires the assistance of the Police. The Police are empowered to complete the case file for the Attorney General's office for all local fisheries offences. In reality there has been very few local fishery cases brought to court. This is mainly due to the following :

  1. In the past the prevailing attitude towards the local fishery was one of a laissez faire approach based on the assumption that stocks were plentiful and there was plenty of fish available for all.

  2. The SFA does not have enough trained personnel and boats to carry out local patrols and enforcement duties.

  3. The SLA has neither the personnel, nor the competence, in fisheries matters to do enforcement work. For example, only 50% of the local commercial fishing vessels are licensed.

7.3.2 Foreign fishery

Funding constraints, political will and lack of inter-departmental co-ordination can all be cited as problems relevant to the monitoring, control and surveillance of the foreign fishery. A large EEZ of over 1 million km2 requires systematic air surveillance, but this is subject to the availability of aircrafts, pilots and funding. The Coastguard, who have the responsibility for surveillance and enforcement at sea, are hampered by the lack of resources. The SFA co-ordinates the fisheries patrol planning with the Coastguard for monitoring, control and surveillance activities. There is an informal committee of three agencies (SFA, Coastguard and SLA) which meets to discuss these issues.

In addition to monitoring and control by the enforcement agencies, a system has been developed whereby local fishing vessels sighting foreign fishing vessels fishing illegally (not displaying a licence or fishing in restricted zone) report to the SFA or the Coastguard, and subject to a successful apprehension, receive a financial reward. Patrols of foreign fishing vessels by the Coastguard are normally combined with other military patrols where secondary tasking allows surveillance of the fishery while fulfilling the primary task. The reduction in resources in recent years has considerably reduced these patrols and surveillance of the foreign fleet is less than before.

Decisions are required in the near future concerning the reinforcement of the surveillance capability both for local as well as foreign fleet in order to improve the credibility of the Seychelles Fishery Management System. An improved inter-agency co-ordination is also required to ensure effective implementation of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance procedures described above to ensure that the MCS does not remain a theoretical concept.

7.4 The legal process

Culpability for violation of Fisheries Regulations is determined by the Court. In most instances fines for local fishing vessels are more lenient than for foreign vessels. In both cases prosecution is done through the Police and the Attorney General's office. Officers of the SFA are in most cases called to provide technical expertise. Although fines imposed on local fishermen for breaking Fisheries Regulations can be heavy - from SR5000 to SR50 000 - there has been few prosecutions. This is partly due to the complacent attitude of the Police and the Courts and to lack of enforcement of local fisheries regulations. Such is not the case for foreign vessels violating fisheries regulations. Incidents of foreign vessels caught fishing illegally in Seychelles waters (mostly for fishing without a licence or fishing in a restricted zone) are usually dealt with swiftly and effectively by the Court.

Usually apprehension of foreign vessels is carried out by the Coastguard who in turn inform the SFA of the incident. Working together, a decision is made if indeed the vessels have committed an offence and if so the vessel is escorted to port. Once in port the SFA officers carries out an inspection of the vessel and collects the necessary evidence, which are then handed over to the Police. The Attorney General's office decide whether to prosecute. In most cases the Court expedites the matter with judgement rendered in a matter of days. In the majority of cases an out-of-court settlement is reached with a fine imposed. In the last few years an average of two to three foreign vessels a year have been caught and prosecuted. In the last case (May 1998), a Sri Lankan vessel was caught fishing on the Mahé plateau (a restricted zone) without a licence. The vessel, which had been targeting sharks utilising drifting gillnets, was impounded and a fine of SR2.5 million ($ 0.5 million) imposed.


8.1 Profitability of the fishery

Profitability of the shark fishery depends on the demand for shark products and in the past this has proven to be very erratic. As a rule fishermen are quick to move from one fishery to the next deserting a fishery with declining income for one which can offer a higher income. Hence whilst good profits were made in the shark fishery in the early 1950s (mostly with salted shark meat) and again in the mid-1990s (with sharks fins) the demand is presently stable. Unlike other species, shark fishermen sell their fins directly to the exporters (who also process the fins) whilst the meat is sold fresh on the open market, with no middlemen involved. Whilst no accurate economic analysis of the distribution of income from the fishery has been carried out, there is no doubt that the exporters of shark fins, compared to the fishermen who land the shark, receive the largest share of the profit.

8.2 Issues of equity and efficiency

The welfare of all fishermen is considered by Government when formulating management objectives and policies. It is true however that stakeholders' involvement is limited and there is definitely room for improvement in this respect.

8.3 Management costs

The single most important cost, both in terms of manpower and material, for effective management is that of enforcement. Indeed, for a small island country with limited resources, monitoring and controlling a large exclusive zone is not an easy task. Nevertheless, when formulating fisheries policies or management plans these cost tend to be ignored or bypassed. Costs for research, stock assessment and management planning are met through the SFA budget allocation. To a certain extend the cost of enforcement are partly covered when foreign vessels are successfully prosecuted.

In view of the fact that the shark fishery in the Seychelles depends heavily on the external market and as yet there is little demand for shark products (except for the fins) the cost of effective management of a shark fishery would not justify the revenue earned from the fishery.


The author wishes to acknowledge his thanks to Mr. Rondolph Payet who provided valuable input to the report and to Mrs. Lina Poussou who typed the manuscript.


Bean D.C. 1992. A report on the economics of catching and marketing shark in Seychelles, SFA internal report. 6pp.

Castro I. José and N.M. Christa 1996. Status of Shark Species, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. 50pp.

Coulmance V. 1993. Les espèces associées à la pêche thonière tropicale dans 1'océan Indien. Programme ORSTOM/IEO BIOECO/93/05. 45pp.

Flewwelling P., N. Bonnuci and L. Christy 1992. Revision of Fisheries Legislation in the Seychelles. TCP/SEY/0155, September 1992, FAO, Rome.

Grandcourt E. 1996. An overview of the Artisanal Fisheries Catch Assessment Survey of the Seychelles Fishing Authority. SFA report. 21pp.

Gribble N.A., McPherson G., Lane B. 1996. Shark Management and Conservation. Proceedings from the Sharks and Management Workshop of the Second World Fisheries Congress, Brisbane, Australia. August 1996. 143pp.

Mees C.C., R. Shotton and M. Margueritte 1998a. Inshore Fisheries Management Strategy for Seychelles Fisheries Authority. TCP/SEY/6713(A). FAO Rome. 117pp.

Mees C.C., R. Shotton and M. Margueritte 1998b. Inshore Fisheries Management Strategy for Seychelles Fisheries Authority. Part C - Annexes. TCP/SEY/6713(A). FAO Rome. 119– 261pp.

Payet R. 1997. Net fishing and its management in Seychelles. SFA/R&D/043. 13pp.

SFA 1985 to 1997. Seychelles Artisanal Fisheries Statistics. SFA, Victoria, Seychelles.

SFA 1998. Tuna Bulletin, Fourth Quarter 1997. Seychelles Fishing Authority, July 1998.

Shah, N. 1994. Dehydration of Marine Products in Seychelles. Environment, Resource and capacity Considerations. ENVIRO, Seychelles, March. 22pp.

Tarbit J. 1980. Demersal Trawling in Seychelles waters. Fisheries Bulletin No. 4., Fisheries Division, Seychelles, Department of Agriculture and Land Use, Mahé, Seychelles.

Travis, W. 1990. Beyond the Reefs and Sharks for Sale. Adventures in the Seychelles. Arrow Books Ltd., London, U. K. (Sharks for sale was originally published in 1961). pp.217–383.

Appendix 1

Proposed management options for the artisanal fisheries of Seychelles
The fisheryPresent status & constraintsManagement optionsRecommendations
Mackerel Fishery- Resource base not a constraint
- Limited local market leading to wastage with glut of supply (seasonal).
- Existing regulations not adequately enforced.
Legislation in force concerning areas, time limit and size of nets.Requires improved enforcement of present legislation.
Shark Fishery- Data inadequate to evaluate resource base.
- Wastage
- limited market for meat (salted). -Bycatch of protected species. (turtles and marine mammals from nets).
- Ban will offset fishing activities in S.E. monsoon.
- Proposed future ban on shark fishing (difficult to enforce).
- Closed season during turtle breeding season (Oct.-Dec.) could be an alternative to total ban.
Octopus- Resource over-exploited and harvested undersized.
- Very little data available.
- Enforcement of management measures difficult does not exist.
- Closed season until stocks recover.
- Stricter enforcement of consumers depends on above, particularly hotels, restaurants.
- Issue licences for the fishery.
- Set size limits.
Closed season during spawning (Nov. - Jan.)
Inshore Trap Fishery- Large number of traps with inadequate statistics.
- Coralline species depleted.
- Traps with undersized mesh.
- Fishing in spawning season (cordonier).
- Stealing and tampering with traps and serious problem.
- Lack of enforcement.
- All vessels should require a licence.
- Traps must be tagged.
- Closed season inside in protected areas during NW monsoon.
- Improve enforcement.
- All traps must have biodegradable mouths.
Implement management options proposed. Improved enforcement of present legislation. All traps should be tagged.
Lobster Fishery- Resource over-exploited, illegal fishing common.
- Enforcement of present legislation lacking.
- Maintain closed season.
- Resource rehabilitation required to maintain ban until stocks recover.
- More strict enforcement of consumers particularly hotels and restaurants.
- Increase ‘on the ground’ enforcement.
Implement management options proposed and reinforce enforcement.
Demersal Line Fishery- Near shore resources over-exploited but potential for development further offshore or Southern Island groups.
- High operating costs and low purchase price.
- Lack of reliable manpower (ageing manpower base). Illegal fishing by both foreign and local vessels.
- Depletion of high value species (groupers and snappers).
- Practice of paying high price for plate size fish not recommended.
- Discourage investments in vessels that target inshore resources and encourage development of upgraded vessel.
- Encourage (with incentive) more vessels to enter semi-industrial fishery (swordfish and tuna).
- Enforcement of existing licensing conditions.
- Encourage capture of larger fish and discourage taking of plate like fish.
No loans for outboards or small boats that fish close inshore.
Krab Girafe Fishery- Present catches below sustainable yields.
- Development of export market hampered.
- Fishery in no immediate threat.
- Could consider size limits and prohibition of capture of female with eggs
No management measures but continue to monitor fishery.
Bêche de Mer- Data inadequate to evaluate resource base.- Closed seasons and/or areas could be
- Introduced
Commercial exploitation should be licensed.
Semi-pelagic line fishery (carangue and becune)- Resource not considered to be a constraint.
- Shows strong seasonality.
- No management measure presently required but existing licensing requirement should be enforced.
- Continue monitoring essential.
Continue monitoring of stocks but no management measures presently required.

Appendix 2
Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations of 1998

S.I. 5 of 1998
(Cap 82)


In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 27 of the Fisheries Act, the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources hereby makes the following Regulations -

1.These Regulations may be cited as the Fisheries (Amendment) Regulations, 1998.Citation
2.The Fisheries Regulations are amended as follows -
(a) in regulation 10(1) by repealing the words “or a combination of nets exceeding 50 metres in length”;
Amendment of Cap. 82 Sub. Leg. p.1
 (b) in regulation 15(2) by repealing the words “which is operated by being dragged across the sea bed.” and substituting therefor the word “whatsoever.” 
 (c) by inserting after regulation 16 the following regulations - 
 “Restriction of net fishing of mackerel16A. No person shall engage in fishing for mackerel by using a net at any time before 5 a.m. or after 4.00 p.m. on any day. 
 Nets to be mounted with lead ropes16B. All fishing nets shall be mounted with lead ropes so as to minimise damage to coral. 
 Prohibition of Net fishing of Sharks16C. On and after 1st August 1998, no person shall engage in fishing for sharks by using nets”. 

Made this 30th day of January 1998.


Appendix 3
Relevant parts of the Fisheries Act of 1986 and Regulation 1986


3.(1) SFA shall prepare and keep under review plans for the managment and development of fisheries.Fisheries management and development plans
(2) The plans shall indicate the current state of fisheries, the objectives to be achieved and the management, development and licensing measures to be applied, including the amount of fishing, if any, to be allocated to foreign fishing vessels.
(3) In the preparation of each fisheries management and development plan, SFA shall consult with the local fisherman and other persons affected by the plan.
(4) SFA shall when practical consult with fisheries management authorities of other States in the Indian Ocean, and in particular with those sharing the same or related stocks, with a view to ensuring the harmonization of their respective fisheries management and development plans.
(5) Each fisheries management development plan or review thereof shall be submitted to the Minister for approval.
4.(1) The Minister make regulations prescribing measures for the proper management of fisheries including closed seasons and closed areas, specification of gear that may be used (including the mesh size of nets), prohibited fishing methods and gear, the species, sizes and other characteristics of fish and other aquatic organism that it is permitted or forbidden to catch and schemes for the limitation of entry into all or any specified fisheries.Management measure
(2) A regulation prescribing management measures may also prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, import or export of any gear or fish or other aquatic organism.
5. (1) SFA shall collect and analyse statistical and other information on fisheries.Information
(2) Every person engaged in fishing, related activities or aquaculture shall supply such information regarding such activities in such form as the SFA may require.
(3) No person who receives information pursuant to this Act shall use or disclose it except for the purposes of this Act.
(4) The Minister may enter into arrangements or agreements with other States in the Indian Ocean, either directly or through an international organization, providing for the exchange of fisheries information and for the harmonization of systems for its collection.
6.(1) The Minister may enter into agreements with other States, with intergovernmental organizations and with associations representing foreign fishing vessel operators allocating fishing rights to vessels of those States, organizations and associations.Fishing agreements
(2) The total fishing rights allocated by agreements made under this section shall not exceed the total resources or amount of fishing permitted to foreign fishing vessels by the applicable fisheries management and development plan.
(3) Any agreement made under this section shall include----
 (a) a provision establishing the responsibility of the other State, organization or association to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance by its vessels with the agreement and with the law relating to fishing in Seychelles waters; and
 (b) such other provisions as may be prescribed. 7.
Foreign fishing vessel licence7.(1) No foreign fishing vessel may be used for fishing in Seychelles waters or for fishing for sedentary species on the continental shelf except under and in accordance with a licence granted under the licensing law or an authorization under Section 17.
(2) Subject to this Act, a licence granted in accordance with Subsection (1) in respect of a foreign fishing vessel shall authorise that vessel to be used in Seychelles waters and, in respect of sedentary species, on the continental shelf for such fishing activities as may be specified in the licence.
(3) No licence shall be granted in accordance with Subsection (1) unless----
(a) there is in force with the Government of the flag state of the vessel, with an intergovernmental organization to which the flag state has delegated the power to negotiate fishing agreements, or with an association of which the operator is a member, an agreement entered into under Section 6 to which the Government of Seychelles is a party; or
(b) the Minister determines that an agreement under Section 6 in respect of the vessel is not practical and the applicant provides sufficient financial and other guarantees for the fulfilment of all obligations under this Act.
Stowage8. Any foreign fishing vessel that is not licensed in accordance with Section 7 or authorized under Section 17 shall at all times that it is in Seychelles waters keep its fishing gear stowed in such manner as may be prescribed.
Local fishing vessel licence9. (1) No local fishing vessel may, unless it has been exempted under Subsection (2), be used for fishing except under in accordance with a licence granted under the licensing law or an authorization under Section 17.
(2) The Minister may make regulations exempting any category of local vessel from the requirements of this section, subject to such conditions as he may prescribe.
(3) No licence shall be granted in accordance with Subsection (1) unless----
(a) the vessel is a local fishing vessel as defined;
(b) the issue of the licence is consistent with any licensing programme specified in the applicable fisheries management and development plan;
(c) the applicant is able and willing to comply with the conditions of the licence.
10.(1) The Minister may make regulations prescribing the conditions under which pleasure craft may be used for fishing.Pleasure craft
(2) Regulations made under Subsection (1) may require a pleasure craft used for fishing to be licensed.
(3) Where a pleasure craft used for fishing is required to be licensed, a licence may be granted under the Licensing law.
11. (1) The Minister may make regulations requiring a licence for----Other licences
(a) any kind of fishing, with or without the use of a vessel;
(b) the use of a vessel for any related activity.
(2) Where a licence is required for any activity described in Subection (1), a licence may be granted under the licnsing law.
(3) A licence required by regulations made under this section shall authorize any person to conduct any kind of fishing or related activity for which the licence is required.
12.(1) Every vessel, net or activity required under this Act to be licensed shall be operated or conducted in accordance with such general operating and management requirements as the Minister may prescribe, and, in the case of a foreign fishing vessel, with requirements made applicable to the vessels by any agreement under Section 6, and, in all cases, subject to any conditions which may be prescribed or be endorsed on the licence including conditions relating to----Operating and management requirements and conditions of licences
(a) the type and method of fishing or related activity authorized;
(b) the areas within which such fishing or related activity is authorized; and
(c) the target species and amount of fish or other aquatic organisms authorized to be taken, including any restriction on by catch.
(2) Where it is expedient for the proper management of fisheries, any special condition attached to any licence may be varied by the person or the authority granting the licence.
(3) Where any special condition attached to any licence is varied, the licensee shall be notified of such variation as soon as practicable.
13. There shall be payable in respect of every licence such fees and other payments as may be prescribed by or under the licensing law or provided for by an agreement under Section 6.Fees
14. (1) A licence granted in accordance with this Act shall be valid for such period not exceeding five years as may be prescribed by regulations or specified in the licence.Validity of licences
(2) Where a vessel licensed as a local fishing vessel ceases to be a local fishing vessel, the licence shall automatically terminate.
3) The term of a foreign fishing vessel licence shall not extend beyond the term of any applicable agreement under Section 6.
(4) No licence shall be transferable except with the written permission of the SFA or as may be prescribed by regulations for the limitation of entry into any fishery.
Suspension and cancellation of licences15. (1) Any licence granted in accordance with this Act may be suspended or cancelled in accordance with the licensing law----
(a) where a vessel or any gear in respect of which the licence was issued has been used, or any activity has been conducted, in contravention of this Act or of any condition of the licence;
(b) where such action is necessary or expedient for the proper management of fisheries
(2) In the event of suspension or cancellation of a licence for the reasons set out in Subsection (1)(b), the proportion of any fees paid with respect to the unexpired portion of the licence shall be refunded to the licensee.
Appeals16. Any person aggrieved by----
(a) the refusal to grant or renew a licence in accordance with Sections 9, 10 or 11; or
(b) the suspension, cancellation or variation of a condition of any licence;
may appeal against the refusal, suspension, cancellation, or variation, and the provisions of the licensing law shall apply to such appeal.
Scientific research17. (1) The Minister may in writing authorize any person or vessel to fish for the purpose of scientific research subject to such conditions as he may prescribe or specify.
(2) An authorization under Subsection (1) may exempt any person or vessel from any provision of this Act.
Aquaculture*18.(1) The SFA may in writing grant to any person the exclusive right of propagating, raising and taking fish and other aquatic organism, in any area of Seychelles waters.
(2)…An application for a grant under this section shall be made in the prescribed form to the SFA.
(3) The SFA shall, at the expense of the applicant, publish in the Gazette notice that an application has been made under this section and that any objection to its being granted must be filed with the SFA within 15 days of the date of publication of the notice.
Cap 237(4) The SFA shall forward an application under this section, together with any objections thereto, any further submissions by the applicant and its own observations and recommendations, to the Town and Country Planning Authority established by Section 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act.
(5) A grant under this section shall not be made without the prior approval of the Town and Country Planning Authority.
(6) A grant under this section shall be valid for such period and subject to such conditions and the payment of such fees as may be specified in the grant. ….
(7)…The Minister may make regulations further providing for the licensing and control of aquaculture in any part of Seychelles or Seychelles waters.

* This section has since been amended by Act 8 of 1993.

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