SFA is holding a survey this year to better understand the stock of the species and review the management measures. (Seychelles Fishing Authority
The Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) will carry out a new study of the Spiny Lobster in October to assess the species’ resources, an official said on Tuesday.
The statement was made by Kettyna Gabriel, a fisheries scientist at the SFA in a meeting with lobster fishers at the Seychelles Trading Company conference room.
She said that as it has been over 30 years since a survey of the lobster stock was held, SFA is holding one this year to better understand the stock of the species and review the management measures, should it be necessary.
Fishers learned about the way the survey has been designed, the sites where it will be held, the methods to be used, and the participation of commercial divers among others.
Gabriel said SFA is replicating the survey done by David Boulle in 1991 in order to compare developments and changes.
“We will be snorkelling in the 0 to 5-metre range and diving in the 0-15 metre – all methods that were used in the survey held over 30 years ago. We have consulted the fishers themselves and the available literature in order to come up with this range,” she explained.
Gabriel added that since researchers will mainly be working at night, “we cannot go deeper, as there is danger in the sea at those levels.”
|A small group of lobster fishers attended the meeting on Tuesday. (Seychelles Fishing Authority) Photo License: CC-BY|
The information gathered in the survey will be included in future fisheries management plans.
SFA researchers will be working in the Mahe zones and the furthest being Bird Island but there are plans in the future to go to Amirantes in the outer islands to examine the stock there.
The lobster is a species that the Seychelles’ authorities are closely monitoring; this year the lobster fishing season was only opened for two months as a recent survey showed a reduction in catch rate, the number being caught, and the number of juveniles.
Andre Pool, a lobster fisher at the meeting, said that he believed carrying out the survey was a good idea but that the authorities “would also have to listen to what the fishers have to say in order to continue protecting the species.”
However, a small group of fishers attended the meeting despite Gabriel saying that they had given them ample notice of the event.
She said that the low turn-out was understandable as “the fishers were making use of the good weather today to go to work, as they had been unable to do so over the last couple of days.”
Lobster harvesting season in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, traditionally opens for three months every two years.
In August, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a Harvest Strategy Policy and the management standards for Seychelles’ fisheries.
The policy expects to underpin objectives to ensure that individual fisheries in Seychelles are able to be best managed according to their particular biological characteristics and the associated socio-economic objectives.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, after tourism.