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: Marine Conservation Society Seychelles

Partners: University of Seychelles, Blue Economy Research Institute, Anse Forbans Community Conservation Programme, Seychelles Fishing Authority

Summary: Spiny lobsters are an important source of income for local fishers in Seychelles, however, declines in abundance prevent consistency in the operation of the commercial fishery. In recent years, many of the fringing reefs in Seychelles, have become dominated by fleshy macro algae and no longer support the same numbers of common and commercially important reef inhabitants, such as lobsters and octopus. The bleaching events and subsequent collapse of coral reefs have triggered this paradigm shift and reduced the availability of potential habitat to these species.

Supplementation of degraded reefs with artificial habitats has been shown to provide valuable increases in spiny lobster numbers but for this to be a real increase in population, rather than an aggregation of existing stock, the level of recruitment and availability of lobster post-larval phases and juveniles has to be assessed and if necessary managed. Similarly, a clearer knowledge of the juvenile to adult lifecycle habitat requirements is necessary as lobsters undergo multiple moults during which they need security from predators.

Anse Royale and Anse Forbans are both fringing reef structures along the South East Coast of Mahe; over the years there have been marked changes at these sites, in both coral reef and other benthic habitats, most notably sea-grasses. Bel Ombre is on the North West coast and has been surveyed for lobsters by the SFA monitoring programme and would be used as a reference site to assess the effects of artificial habitats on wild lobster population.

SeyCCAT Funds: SCR 950,290

Co-finance: SCR 959,178

Duration: June 2018 to May 2019

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