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Seychelles represented at high-level conference on impacts of piracy on fisheries in the Indian Ocean at the European Parliament in Brussels

Seychelles represented at high-level conference on impacts of piracy on fisheries in the Indian Ocean at the European Parliament in Brussels ( At the invitation of the European Parliament in Brussels, Mr. Peter Sinon, Minister for Natural Resources and Industry, on Tuesday, October 3, 2012, opened a high-level conference with the objective of presenting the socio-economic impacts of piracy on fisheries in the Indian Ocean, including the conclusions and recommendations of a workshop of experts, which was held in Seychelles earlier this year. The conference was co-chaired by Mr. Alain Cadec, Vice-Chair of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament, and Mr. Nils Torvalds, Member of the European Parliament.

In his opening address, Minister Sinon began by highlighting the importance of the ocean as a major source of food for a number of islands and coastal states. He reminded the participants that custodianship of vast Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) is the islands states’ very important global responsibility. In discharging this responsibility, he informed that recently recent findings by the “Centre for Marine Assessment and Planning of the University of California at Santa Barbara” examined 171 EEZs representing 40% of the world’s ocean and yielding the bulk of sea-derived food. The Seychelles EEZ was ranked 4th and was one of only two developing countries to rank among the top 12 countries with the healthiest inhabitable ocean of the planet, pointed out the Minister. Such rankings and state of play could in turn be the basis for a premium of the product extracted from such pristine blue economy. This would unfortunately be thwarted by the scourge of piracy that turns innocent fishing into one of the most risky ventures for our fishermen.

At the dawn of the preparations to revisit the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the European Union, Minister Sinon remarked: “The conferences are timely as they have been a perfect opportunity to address the issues of the poor understanding of the socio-economic impacts of piracy on our fishermen and their loved ones. In doing so, we have also taken time to examine impacts on the sustainability of our finite fishing ground.” The Minister was pleased to see that their partners do converge on the issue of sustainable exploitation of the resources, and it is a good platform to review the aforementioned agreement.

Minister Sinon emphasized Seychelles President Michel’s commitment to turn Seychelles into an anti-piracy hub for the country’s international allies who are committed to the fight against piracy. The anti-piracy action off the horn of Somalia has been the first and largest international operation of its kind, where navies of the major world’s powers have joined forces to combat the security threat in the Indian Ocean. The experience gained with multinational engagement in the combat against piracy has given Seychelles confidence to decide to place its candidature for a Non-Permanent Seat of the United Nations for 2017 for which the Minister solicited support from the partners.

Maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia is estimated to have cost the global shipping industry US$5.6 billion in 2010. At the height of its illicit activities in 2009, piracy activities have cost Seychelles 4% of its Gross Domestic Product in terms of loss of earnings from cruise and yacht chartering activities, including escalating costs in freight and insurance charges. At the conference, Minister Sinon reiterated President Michel’s gratitude and calld for the maintenance of the international forces that have joined in the fight against piracy, a fight that goes beyond the mandate of any one institution or country.

Mr. Beatty Hoareau, member of the Seychelles Fishing Authority and also a member of the Executive Board of the Boat Owners Association, who formed part of the Seychelles delegation to the conference, highlighted in his presentation the fear, anxiety, and sheer trauma which had kept the Seychelles fishermen either on shore or shorter fish trips after 2 Seychellois fishermen were hijacked in November 2009. This in turn had led to loss of earnings for the fishermen, a decrease of artisanal fish supply on the local market, leading to the highest prices of fish.


During his visit to Brussels, Minister Sinon and his delegation met with Mr. Stefaan Depypere, Director of International Affairs and Markets in the European Commission, in order to pave the way for the forthcoming negotiations on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement, which will expire in November 2013. Discussions centered around pertinent issues that would be tabled for discussions and the modalities that will be employed to achieve successful and progressive results. The Minister and Chairperson of the SFA, Mr. Michaud, took the opportunity to hand-deliver the compilation of SFA’s Annual Reports for the year 2007-2010. This was welcomed and seen as timely, as important references for a comprehensive and well-informed anticipated reviews and negotiations of the existing cooperation.


The Minister also held private meetings with the purse seiner representatives to listen to their issues of concern as well as to share some of his own from the perspective of his Ministry and the industry.


The Seychelles Minister responsible for fisheries also visited the Antwerp Maritime Academy.

The Antwerp Maritime Academy is the only institution in Belgium offering training in Nautical Sciences and Marine Engineering and which has an ISO 9001 accreditation. The courses are taught in both Dutch and French. “There is great potential for cooperation and collaboration between the Seychelles Maritime School and the Antwerp Maritime Academy. After discussions with the Director of the Academy, it has been provisionally agreed that cooperation can firstly begin between the trainers/lecturers and that is after both institutions have exchanged information and determined a consensual way forward,” remarked Minister Sinon.

PHOTO: Minister Sinon addressing the High Level Conference at the EU Parliament


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