Project Manager Joseph Rath and Marketing Director Olivier Levi collect naturally growing rock oysters while out scouting potential sites for rock oyster farming on Mahé on 4 December 2021.
SeyCCAT funds: SCR 999,500
Duration: 24 months
Strategic objective: 5
Lead Project Partner: Jacques Belle
- Seychelles Fisheries Authorities
- Blue Economy Department / SwioFishIII
- Ortus Laboratories
- Island Developing Company
- Persand Royal Company Ltd in Mauritius
- Entreprise ostréicole SARL CABELGUEN in France
Co-financing: Rock Oyster Team has received several commitments in kind-contributions which comprise mainly of assets needed for the successful implementation of the pilot project activities, they are as follows:
- 3 boats (Cap Camarat 7.5 WA Jeanneau + Scarab twin 150 HP Yamaha + Suzuki Cata Style 2 Motors 175 CV 4s strokes) total worth value 2,000,000 SCR
- 1 jeep (Tucson Hyundai 1.6 turbo) worth value 400,000 SCR
- 1 small pickup (Nissan NP200) worth value 224,000SCR
- 5 laptops (Lenovo ThinkPad 8GB, 512 SSD) total worth value 179,970 SCR
The project story:
Rock oysters (Crassostrea cucullata) grow naturally in Seychelles and can be found across the main island of Mahé as well as on the other islands in the archipelago, where they grow on the iconic granitic rocks and on inert corals. Rock Oysters are usually found in mangroves with abundant brackish water and in the coastal areas where seawater mixes with a running fresh water supply.
Rock oysters have long been a local delicacy thanks to their salty, tender taste and availability across the island. However, the rock oysters are rather small compared to European, Pacific, and Atlantic species and do not grow in sufficient numbers to satisfy the demand of local hotels and restaurants – major buyers of imported oysters.
Seeing the market potential, a group of Seychellois entrepreneurs set to explore commercial farming of rock oysters to supply the hospitality sector with a sustainable, locally grown delicacy.
The project financed under Blue Grants Fund 4 investigates the economic viability of rock oyster cultivation in Seychelles. For this, the team members study the natural habitats of rock oysters, paying special attention to salinity, water temperature and light exposure. These data will help identify the most suitable areas and methods for rock oyster cultivation, in line with the Seychelles Fishing Association’s (SFA) Mariculture Plan and findings of a 1972 feasibility study by Mr. K.W Cox.
The pilot also aims to promote rock oysters as a traditional delicacy, especially among younger generations of Seychellois, to stimulate local consumption and potentially pave the way for more local entrepreneurs to tap into this type of aquaculture.
If the pilot is successful and the feasibility study indicates commercial potential, the team is hoping to explore other funding schemes to kickstart and scale up their business, including the Blue Investment Fund – a sister facility of the BGF that offers affordable large-scale loans to Seychellois entrepreneurs exploring the blue economy sectors.