In 2018, the Republic of Seychelles decided to develop the Blue Economy in the framework of four key strategic priorities for action and investment, as specified in the: Seychelles Blue Economic Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap:
- Creating sustainable wealth – diversifying existing ocean-based sectors; exploring new and emerging sectors;
- Sharing prosperity – ensuring food security, access to high-quality education and employment opportunities; improving the business environment and encouraging local, international investment;
- Securing healthy and productive oceans – ecosystem service accounting built into economic measures; protecting marine and coastal assets; implementing blue economy/climate resilience through adaption strategies consistent with obligations under the UNFCCC.
- Strengthening the enabling environment – development of research and innovation capability; incorporating blue economy/ocean risks in national marine security strategies and address the impacts of illegal activities; connecting the government, industry, civil society, and regional partnerships; international advocacy and partnerships.
And its commitment has been outstanding since. The government set aside 30 percent of its marine territory to be legally protected from any activity that may damage the marine environment. However, with the COVID-19, which drastically impacted and slowed down the development, Seychelles must reconstruct the economy by creating, rejuvenating, and upscaling the country’s BE sectors.
The country’s economic and social shock is severe due to high dependence on the tourism sector, which accounts for 30 % of the GDP. The tourism minister of Seychelles, Sylvestre Radegonde, has announced new measures to re-open Seychelles to tourists. People all around the world who have taken both COVID-19 vaccinations are encouraged to travel to Seychelles. According to the chairperson of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Seychelles, Sybille Cardon, the new measure will not help the industry to revive immediately, as the second dose will be administrated much later.
Fisheries is the second important sector for Seychelles’ economy. In November 2020, the new government called for a renewed focus on the fisheries sector. It re-organized the Blue Economy Department under the Ministry of Fisheries, and the country renewed a fisheries partnership agreement with the EU. Additionally, the government of Seychelles has demarcated zones to be used for industrial fish processing. The land to be allocated to private investors covers 70,000 square meters and is on the artificial island of Île du Port off the main island of Mahé. The primary source of fish targeted for processing is tuna but Advisor to the Fisheries Ministry, Roy Clarisse, believes that if there is potential for processing fish from aquaculture, the government will need to consider it. 80.000 tonnes of tuna from almost half a million caught in southwest India annually are in the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Mr. Clarisse said there would be more opportunities for employment with more processing plants and the provision of other ancillary services in support of the plants. The plant will comply with the approved standards required by the competent authority of the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS)for fish processing plants engaged in the export of fish or fishery products.
The Port Victoria that has secured the title of Indian Ocean Leading Cruise Port conferred by the World Travel Awards is another essential element in supporting Seychelles’ various BE activities. Besides hosting the world’s largest tuna canneries (around 70,000 tonnes of gross weight processed by Indian Ocean Tuna), it also provides ship maintenance. Due to the pandemic, the tourism department had to announce a two-year ban on all cruise ship calls at Port Victoria which offers some time to Seychelles to focus on greening its port expansion and speeding up this enabling infrastructure development.
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