The Seychelles government is committed to expanding by 20-30% the country’s marine protected area network and fishers say that they were not consulted regarding this process.
The matter was discussed at a week-long workshop earlier this month. The workshop, organised by the Fisher Association of Seychelles is meant to exchange knowledge of how fisherfolk can participate in MPA planning, advocacy and lobbying.
Masifundise’s Nico Waldeck is participating in the gathering.
The government of Seychelles is committed to the protection of the marine and terrestrial biodiversity for which it is responsible and has declared a large number of protected areas (PA). It has made bold new commitments to expand the PA estate, especially for marine areas which will be expanded to cover 20-30% of the EEZ. (Seychelles Nation, 2015)
But fishers believe that this is a threat to their livelihood.
“ Fishers in Seychelles read the report on ocean grabbing prepared by Africa Kontakt, Masifundise and Transnational Institute so they requested us to secure participation of one of the authors who is well aware of the dynamics and various forces at play in Seychelles and globally” wrote Yann Yvergniaux, the workshop organiser.
Showing concrete examples on how fishers in South Africa are advocating for increased participation in MPA’s, Nico delivered a presentation on how Coastal Links South Africa was mobilised. His presentation touched on how in South Africa, fishers were and are able to fight for their rights to be part of political processes that will directly affect their livelihoods.
Fishers support marine protection measures but believe that these should take into account the rights of traditional fishers to sustainable livelihoods.
The week long workshop was a platform for fishers to exchange knowledge and share ideas.
This knowledge and ideas will then assist small-scale fishers from the Seychelles in taking forward their political struggle for human rights, food security and inclusion in political decision-making processes.