- Seychelles plans to keep a closer eye on local shark stocks and has introduced a new log sheet for recording statistics on this fish caught locally, according to authorities in the Indian Ocean nation, which is characterised by strong environmental legislation. Shark fishing has become a booming industry on the archipelago.
The Seychelles Fishing Authority yesterday (12 August) met with owners of large boats to discuss the new logsheet the authority has introduced, according to information released today by the Seychellois government.
The meeting was said to have come in the face of "a discrepancy in the volume of shark fins reportedly exported from Seychelles, compared to the amount said to have been received in Hong Kong in 2002" and efforts of SFA to improve its monitoring of this developing fishery.
- Local figures indicated that Seychelles exported 3.82 metric tonnes, yet Hong Kong, one of our main markets, reported receiving 10.05 metric tonnes, SFA managing director Rondolph Payet said.
Mr Payet added that after the recent introduction of the logbook, many of the sailors had not been filling some particulars correctly. However, some operators noted that "this exercise could have been done earlier."
There had, for example, been some confusion regarding the species of shark caught, Mr Payet said, adding this was useful information for the development of sound management practices.
He said the operators welcomed the idea to help out in identifying the shark species, and that while sharks were previously being fished on an artisanal basis, shark fisheries boomed with the recent swordfish export restrictions by the European Union (EU), the main market for Seychellois fisheries products.
He also said that people in Seychelles are more interested in the shark's flesh, and not the fins, adding that there are between five and 10 local vessels that target sharks.
While Seychelles only recently has started exploiting its rich shark resources commercially, there are growing worldwide concerns over the environmental sustainability of the global shark fisheries. While the proper shark fishing industry is still small and sustainable, sharks are a large by-fish product when fishing vessels trawl for other fish.
In a similar way as for dolphins, sharks are increasingly caught as by-fish products, killed and thrown back into the sea by world fisheries. Many shark species are already said to be threatened, as are many dolphin species. In Seychellois waters, the situation however still is believed to be environmentally under control.
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