Thursday, February 19, 2009

SEYCHELLES: Focus on adding value and jobs to the fisheries

Seychelles Nation, 18/02/2009

Making better use of Seychelles’ fish resources and at the same time creating more jobs will be the aim of two training sessions this month.
The workshops, focusing on added-value fish processing, are seen as a good chance for jobseekers – including those who left public service under the Voluntary Departure Scheme – to gain new skills and possibly start up their own small businesses.

The sessions, one tomorrow and Friday and the second on February 26 and 27, are being held by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) together with the Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (Senpa) in the SFA training room at the Fishing Port.

They will be led by Japanese consultant Tadayuki Kitanosono under a two-year feasibility study into the development of coastal fisheries and fish processing.

The project is financed jointly by the SFA and the Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation of Japan. Mr Kitanosono will be helped by a Seychellois counterpart, Rona Albert.

Commenting on the advantages and benefits the workshops could bring to small and medium- sized entrepreneurs, SFA managing director Rondolph Payet and Senpa chief executive Sylvianne Valmont expressed satisfaction yesterday with their joint venture.

“Not only does it fit in well with Vice-President Joseph Belmont’s recent call for greater collaboration within government ministries and agencies, but it also brings fresh impetus to developing and expanding the fish processing and seafood industry in Seychelles, which is one of the objectives of our fisheries policy so as to ensure food security,” they said in a statement.

“It is evident that our natural marine resources, apart from canned tuna and a limited amount of fresh and frozen fish that we export, remains underused and largely underexploited.

“Workshops of this importance, introducing ways of developing value-added products, will not only offer consumers, including hotels, a wider range of locally made food items of a high standard but will, in the long term, offer the country another source of foreign exchange.”

Adding value to fish products is already high on the country’s agenda, and the SFA has built a special laboratory to spearhead further developments in this area.

The SFA and Senpa will be organising other workshops during the year.