The 1st Outer Island Broodstock Collection Trip for the Aquaculture Section of the Seychelles Fishin

After months of planning and preparation the aquaculture team was ready to set off on our first outer island brood stock collection trip. We were accompanied by a total of 8 people. 6 personal from the R/V L’Amitie the SFA Research vessels, 2 Security officers and 4 aquaculture Staff which includes Mr.Devis monthy the expedition leader, Mr. Lawrence Grant the aquaculture scientist, Mr. Jean-Luke Bristol and myself Mr. Andrew Esparon.

(A Little bit of fishing on the way).

On the afternoon of 18th January 2020, we set off via the North of Mahé to make our way South West on course to the outer islands. It took us a total of two and a half days to reach our destination. Along the way preparations were made to make sure that when we get to our fishing spot, all equipment’s were set up, the holding tanks for the fish were cleaned and filled in preparation for when we start catching the fish. Our main target Species was the brown marble grouper Epinephelus fuscoguttatus, or Vyey goni in Creole).

Our plan was to make the most out of this first ever outer island collection trip, so any other opportunistic broodstock along the way were to be collected if possible. One of those opportunistic broodstock was the great green turban (Turbo marmoratus or birgo in Creole).

(Equipment being set up). (Taking navigational shifts aboard)

Upon arrival we made contact with IDC Island manager and after a few hours we made contact with ICS and they came aboard for a debriefing. We had the assistance of two ICS staff who were very [AL1] enthusiastic of our expedition. Both the IDC and ICS staff were really helpful and instrumental in assisting us to achieve our goals. We did a couple of snorkelling surveys in the lagoon to scout for any brown marble groupers around and did some long strolls along the coast to look for the great green turbans.

(ICS Staff on a trip with us).

(Exploring for the Green Turban).

On the second day of the trip Lawrence, Devis and Jean-Luke with the assistance of the ICS staff made a trip to one of the brown marble grouper spawning site and there they spotted the fish and returned to the R/V L’Amitie to make preparation for fishing to begin. Each team members had his task. Lawrence and Devis with the help of the R/V L’Amitie crew did the fishing while myself and Jean-Luke transported the fish to the live holding tanks and took measurements onboard. Once the fish were in the live holding tanks, water quality measurements were continuously monitored throughout the collection period.

Throughout the following days the fishing continued but there were a few difficulties. We were not able to catch the brown marble grouper as the spawning site was predominately filled with another grouper species, the camouflage grouper (Epinephelus polyphekadion, or vyey mashata in Creole). Our target was a minimum of 10 brown marble grouper, which we collected but we also collected 14 camouflage grouper.

The team would like to thank the IDC and the ICS for their invaluable assistance during the trip and look forward to future collaborations. To conclude, the trip was an overwhelming experience for the team not just from the knowledge we gained, but from what we learned from the R/V L’Amitie crew and the people on the island which all contributed to making this trip a success as well. It is such a historic event for Seychelles as it was the first of its kind that has been conducted for live fish. Now the long process of acclimation has started for the groupers in the BAQF and we are excited to see how they adapt!

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