A European Union-funded project to build a fish market and gear store on La Digue, the third-most populated island of Seychelles, has begun.
The project costs $201,000 (2.7 million Seychelles rupees) and will benefit over 60 fishermen on the island.
"Instead of selling fish directly from our boat on the beach we can soon display them properly," said Ray Payet, the chairperson of the Association of Fishermen of La Digue.
Payet said that the fishermen on La Digue who practise mainly artisanal fishing using fish traps and lines are never lacking in sales opportunities for their products due to high demand in the tourism industry.
The EU is also financing the construction of four fish processing units at Bel Ombre, a district on the northern side of Mahe, the most populated island of Seychelles, a 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
That project costs around $669,000 (9 million Seychelles rupees) and is in its final stage. It includes the extension of a landing shed that will benefit fishermen of the area.
In his visit to Seychelles recently, Joao Aguiar Machado, the Director General of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of EU, says the projects will "make it easier [for fishermen] to carry out their duties, give improved value to their products and thus benefit their customers."
Machado added that the EU is hoping to explore other areas of cooperation with Seychelles especially towards finding ways to save the ocean.
Fishing is the second most important part of the economy of Seychelles and the chief executive of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA), Bernard Arnephy, says "the authority is exploring ways to encourage youths to join this sector."
Seychelles and the EU have had strong bilateral ties since 1987 and the biggest partnership is in the fisheries sector.
In her meeting with the Seychelles' President Danny Faure, in February, the ambassador and head of delegation of the EU to the Seychelles, Marjaana Sall said she has discussed issues of common interest and value to both Seychelles and the European Union such as capacity building of the different institutions in Seychelles, climate change, maritime security, trade and investment, and fisheries among others.
Sall had said, "There will also be a new programme on the economic partnership agreement, a sum of €10m with the aim of supporting Seychelles' capacity to benefit from its economy. This could be in the fisheries or tourism sectors, small and medium sized businesses, and enhancing the business environment."