Type: Large

SeyCCAT strategic objective: Empower the fisheries sector with robust science and knowhow to improve governance, sustainability, value and market options.

Lead Project Partner: John Nevill

Partners:  Seychelles Fishing Authority and Green Islands. Foundation 

Summary

Parrotfish (Scaridae) are keystone species in coral reef ecosystems, essential for maintaining live coral cover and healthy resilient coral reefs. The 1997 severe coral bleaching event resulted in more than 40% of coral reefs on the Mahe plateau shifting to an algal dominated state with significantly reduced fish diversity and populations (1-4[1]). It is likely that the mass bleaching event of 2016 will only serve to exacerbate this situation. Management and research in the Caribbean has shown that protecting parrotfish populations results in improving live coral cover on reefs and enhanced resilience to multiple stressors (6-14).  In Seychelles however, there is no baseline data available on the parrotfish fishery, its species make-up, seasonality or economic value. Such information is a fundamental prerequisite to the development of any Scaridae management measure. This project sets out to address this information shortfall.

Site description.The project will be undertaken on Mahe Island. SFA data shows that some 90% of artisanal catch is landed on the main island – so it constitutes the most cost-effective location for catch monitoring.

Overall outcome, objective(s); outputs(s) and activities(s).This project will: i). Develop a monitoring protocol for the parrotfish fishery. ii). Produce species identification materials for parrotfish in Seychelles. iii). Train technical staff in species identification and undertaking the monitoring protocol. iv). Undertake an intensive 12-month monitoring of the trap fishery to assess parrotfish species occurrence, seasonality and overall economic value. v). Produce a report on the parrotfish fishery with recommendations for future management and research.  These activities and outputs will provide the information required to enable the informed development of measures to better manage parrotfish populations and in turn the resilience of coral reef ecosystems and their overall fishery productivity.

Beneficiaries.This project will benefit fishery management agencies, fishery technicians and researchers and provide a basis for the development of fishery management measures that would benefit the artisanal fishery and its practitioners as a whole.

Timeline.The project is divided into three phases. The inception phase where there will be preliminary 3-month (March-May 2019) assessment of the parrotfish fishery which will enable the development of a pragmatic monitoring protocol and the identification and inclusion of fisher project partners. Phase 2 will be the 12 month (June 2019 – May 2020) intensive fishery survey and valuation. Phase 3 will be the write up phase where the report will be finalised and submitted to SeyCCAT and SFA and the full database and digital copy of the identification materials provided to SFA.

Alignment with international and national priorities.Internationally this project supports Seychelles’ implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Targets 10, 14, 15, 19 and Sustainable Development Goal 14; and specifically component 14.2. On the national scene the project contributes directly to the Ecological Approach to Fisheries (EAF) management objective of the Seychelles demersal fishery plan. It furthermore supports objectives 2.6. 4.1, 4.2 and 5.3 of the Seychelles National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP); and specifically contributes to the realisation of projects 14, 21 and 28 of the NBSAP.

SeyCCAT funds: SR 498,000

Co-financing:  SCR 482, 000

Duration: March 2019 – August 2020.

Project Application Form: Project Application Form