Seychelles introduces licensing system for spanner crab fishing

Spanner crab.

The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) has introduced a licensing system for its spanner crab fishery, which previously faced only light regulation.

Mounting fishing pressure and declining catches precipitated the change, according to SFA Assistant Licensing Manager Karyss Auguste.

“Fishermen have been asking us to put in place several measures, as they were becoming concerned, especially with the size of the crabs that are being captured lately," Auguste told the Seychelles News Agency.

The 20 December 2023 announcement confirmed 10 annual licenses will be issued, each permitting 350 traps per vessel. Permit regulations will prohibit the taking of crabs less than 8 centimeters in carapace width. Auguste said there are also data-collection requirements attached to the permits, intended to fill in knowledge gaps around the fishery and aid in its future regulation.

Development of the licensing system was completed in consultation with fishermen, of which there are only seven active full time in the fishery, according to Auguste.

Commercial spanner crab fishing – conducted with traps set on areas of sandy seafloor between 30 and 70 meters – began in the Seychelles in 1986. The average catch between 2011 and 2020 was 30.5 metric tons (MT), with a high of 90.2 MT in 2018. According to the SFA, the fishery’s maximum sustainable output ranges from 381 to 695 MT annually.

Photo courtesy of SeaRain/Shutterstock


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500