A Seychellois team will manage the soon-to-be-relaunched prawn farm on Seychelles’ Coetivy Island, the Island Development Company (IDC) said.
The chief executive of the company said that Seychellois will manage the project, but that since prawn farming is labour extensive, foreign labour possibly from South East Asia will need to be brought in.
“When SMB (Seychelles Marketing Board) closed this project yes there were a lot of foreigners but there were some Seychellois managing some components of the farm. So, we have now identified these people, and some are coming back to work with us. There is also a young marine biologist who has joined us,” Glenny Savy told a news conference on Friday.
According to Savy, they have also managed to identify the Belgian company which back then was working with the prawn factory and “they have agreed to provide us with the know-how.” Savy said that it is not possible to say when production will start but work to open the basins have started.
“We are still in the construction phase and we still do not have the final delivery date for some of the equipment that will be required. So we are probably about three months away from being able to determine when production will start,” said Savy.
The chief executive added, “the way we are going now is very encouraging.”
Prawn farming is not new to the 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. In 1989, in collaboration with the Seychelles Marketing Board, IDC developed a black tiger prawn farm on Coetivy Island, with broodstocks imported from Madagascar and Mozambique. The farm, however, was deemed not profitable and ceased its operations in 2009.
In a previous interview with SNA, the principal aquaculture officer at the Seychelles Fishing Authority, Aubrey Lesperance, told SNA that Coetivy Island was found to be the most suitable site in Seychelles for commercial prawn farming because it already has a lot of the characteristics in place including flat land, high-quality seawater, electricity supply, accommodation, and basic infrastructure still available.
A member of the public Amanda Rene, whom SNA spoke to get her views on the redevelopment of the prawn factory.
“It is a good initiative, but they need to it well, efficiently so that in the long run the farm can sustain itself. When I look at the prawn production, I also think it will support the tourism industry as now visitors who comes to the island will not only eat fish from our sea but will now have the prawns also, so promoting the Seychelles brand,” said Rene.
She also expressed her wish that in the long-term prawns from the island nation can be exported, bringing in much needed foreign earnings. For now, IDC said that it plans to produce around 200 tons of prawns per year and will only be for local consumption.