Aquaculture 101 Training at the Seychelles Maritime Academy

After close to 10 years of meticulous planning by the SFA, the aquaculture sector is set officially launch next month. SFA has been working relentlessly towards laying a proper foundation for the building of the aquaculture sector. This was done with the aim of enabling the new sector to flourish, while also mitigating the risks which might come with the growth the new emerging sector. Majority of the efforts has been put into the drafting of major documents such a Mariculture Master plan, Standard Operating Procedures, an Aquaculture Regulation and Standards which have all been drafted specifically for the launching of this sector and its operations.

The aim of the aquaculture 101 training which was held from the 16th to the 20th of September 2019, was to teach the participants the major concepts and facts in regards to aquaculture and what they should expect with the launch of the new sector. The training was held at the Seychelles Maritime Academy and included the participation of senior staff from a number of organizations such as the SFA, the department of blue economy and Enterprise Seychelles Agency (ESA) to name a few. The topics covered included the global fisheries and aquaculture trends, Seychelles aquaculture production systems, technical and biological aspects of production systems, environmental impacts and also the Seychelles aquaculture regulatory framework. All of which was delivered by one of our specialist aquaculture consultants for the Seychelles Mariculture Master plan Ms. Rachel Mullins.

Figure 1;  Mr. Lesperance officially launching the training on Monday 16th of September 2019 at SMA.

Due to budget constraints and time limitations we could not afford to include more participants as the training was fully funded by SFA and it included the provision of refreshments and lunch and also free Wi-Fi for all participants. This allowed the participants to do supplementary reading and constant online research as many of their tasks required them to do so. The setting gave rise to a number of opinions being exchanged and shared throughout the training.

The participants also got the chance to visit the pilot projects which are being run by the SFA. This included visits to our sea urchin facility, our BAQF facility and also the site at which the first finfish cage was deployed from. There they received very thorough explanations of what these pilot projects meant for the emerging sector.

Figure 2; Visit to BAQF
Figure 3; Visit to Sea Urchin Facility

Majority of the participants possessed limited knowledge in regards to aquaculture and were intrigued to learn and showed devoted interest throughout the entire week. The participants were given a final exam on the last day and they all passed. They were awarded with a certificate of achievement which was handed to them by the course leader and Principal Aquaculture Officer Mr. Aubrey Lesperance at a short ceremony which was held in the presence of the participants at the SFA on Monday 23rd of September.

Figure 4; Participants undertaking the final exam on Friday 20th September
Figure 5; Mr Lesperance and Ms Mullins handing over certificate of achievement to Sir Vivek the fisheries science lecturer at SMA.

SFA hopes to conduct more training for senior staff in key supporting organizations in order to build their knowledge in regards to aquaculture and prepare them for what’s to come with the launching of this new sector. However, this will rely heavily on funding and the willingness of these organizations to participate.

Figure 6; Group photo taken during the training week.

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