Seychelles fishermen promote line-caught fish

Hook-and-line fishermen from the Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago nation east of the African continent, have launched a labeling program to promote what they say are responsibly harvested fish.

The Seychelles Fishing Boat Owners Association (FBOA) is working with the French Sea Bass Association (Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe Bretagne). The French fishermen provided expertise and technical assistance to the Seychelles FBOA to enhance the image of Seychelles line fishermen and their catch.

The program emphasizes selectivity, origin, traceability and environmental impacts. It is based on three types of tagging schemes: the emperor red snapper campaign aims to label eight line-caught bottom-dwelling tropical fish species; the tuna campaign aims to label three line-caught highly migratory tropical fish species; and the trevally campaign aims to label two line-caught pelagic tropical fish species.

“In Seychelles, the hook-and-line fishing method is a traditional technique. This technique is recognized to be one of the most selective techniques in harvesting wild fish,” said Beatty Hoarau, manager of the labeling project. “For this reason our line fishery has a very low level of bycatch, discarding of fish does not occur, and there is no damage inflicted on marine habitats. By using circle hooks, our fishermen catch mostly larger fish, which have already reproduced. Another advantage is that we use circle hooks which reduce damage to turtles or birds tempted to try and take the bait.”

The certification process is performed by the independent Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS).

The program also aims to offer hotels, restaurants and retailers the opportunity to join this initiative and to pledge their commitment by signing a letter of agreement. The Seychelles FBOA is working in partnership with the two main fish processors operating in the Seychelles: Oceana Fisheries and Sea Harvest.

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