The islands of the Seychelles Archipelago are located in the middle of the Indian Ocean and are scattered over an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,374,00km2. It can therefore be rightly stated that fisheries is the only significant natural resource of the Seychelles. Over the past 30 years, the sector has metamorphosed from a mostly subsistence activity to a major processing and export industry. Today, the fisheries sector has become an integral part of the social and economic structure of the country. Alongside tourism, it constitutes a pillar of the economy and one on which the country‘s growth prospects depends critically upon.
Fisheries activities in the Seychelles are best considered from two perspectives: fishing and fish processing.
Under fishing activity, three main types are identified:
1. Artisanal fishing which mainly uses handlines;
2. Longline fishing which uses monofilament longline; and
3. Industrial fishing which employs purse seine nets.
Tuna, a migratory pelagic fish, is currently by far the most important marine resource. By a fortunate quirk of nature, the Seychelles lies astride an important tuna migratory route. Thus, it is strategically placed to exploit these species, especially yellow fin and skipjack tuna. Foreign fleets from France, Spain, Russia, Japan and South Korea are the main vessels fishing tuna in the Seychelles. The fishing of tuna is classified under Industrial Fishing.
Seychelles does not have a Tuna fishing fleet of its own, as the government faces challenges in attracting young people to this field of work.
Many local fishermen engage in Artisanal Fishing. Artisanal fishing provides a steady supply of fresh fish for the local people, and fish can be bought from fishmongers in the various districts or in the market in Victoria. Local fishermen also provide hotels with all the fresh fish they use daily in their dishes.