Economic Impact of the Seychelles Sea Cucumber Fishery and Industry
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Corporate AuthorSFA Fisheries Economics
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Abstract1. The Seychelles sea cucumber industry has a non-transferable licensing framework granting access to only 25 fishing and 4 processing licenses. A Total Allowable Catch (TAC) was introduced in 2018 with only three species allowable for fishing: flower teatfish, prickly redfish and white teatfish. The fishing fleet is comprised of 25 vessels embarking on average 6 trips per season and with a mean fishing trip duration of 17 days. Some form of pre-processing is conducted onboard involving eviscerating and salting the sea cucumber. At the processing-level, the 4 licensed processors utilize the entire supply of landings and processes the sea cucumbers to a dried state. Based on the processors’ estimates, the industry’s processing capacity can increase twofold. 2. On a seasonal basis for the 2019/2020 season [October to May], the sea cucumber fishing fleet landed 371,599 pieces of sea cucumbers representing a 34% increase from the 2017/2018 season and a 40% increase from the 2018/2019 season. Flower teatfish had the highest landings (72%) followed by white teatfish (18%) and prickly red (10%). The fleet utilised 99% of the TAC which is an improvement of 28 percentage points compared to the previous season. 3. On an annual basis in 2020, a total of 376,181 sea cucumbers were landed with an estimated landings revenue of SCR 51.9 million. This represents a 78% increase from 2018 and a 22% increase from 2019. Fishers tend to be paid a standard unit price for each specimen, with a SCR 10 commission earned only on the sale of flower teatfish and white teatfish to processors. Increases in ex-vessel prices were observed in 2019, with flower teatfish and white teatfish growing by 25% and 35% respectively. White teatfish garnered the highest ex-vessel price per piece with prices typically SCR 15-20 higher than flower teatfish and SCR 80-110 higher than prickly redfish. 4. Export consignments of dried sea cucumbers are mainly transported via air with Hong Kong as its only destination. Export trends indicate that export is on the rise despite a marginal fall in both the number of pieces and weight by 1% and 4% respectively during 2018-2019. In 2020, data is from January-July and shows that export value has attained an increase of 32% from 2018 and 3% from 2019. Similar to ex-vessel prices, white teatfish is the most valuable specimen exported and in 2020, all 3 species recorded individual highs with white teatfish at SCR 2,295 per kg, flower teatfish at SCR 2,040 per kg and prickly red at SCR 1,020 per kg. Average export prices for white teatfish, flower teatfish and prickly red stands at SCR 1,539, 1,401, 720 per kg respectively. 5. The sea cucumber industry directly supports about 185 jobs generating an income impact of approximately SCR 29.6 million. The fishing component generated the most jobs (150) and income earnings (SCR 23.9 million). Page | 4 There are 118 locals employed in the fishery, resulting to about 143 households directly dependent on the industry, ultimately leading to an estimated 486 individuals impacted to some degree by the industry. 6. The Government through the SFA charges various fees to operators including licensing fees, management fees, and an inspection fee. In 2020, SFA collected SCR 1.8 million in such fees translating to a 18% increase in 2018 and a 15% increase in 2019. 7. In 2019, it is estimated that the mean operational cost for a sea cucumber fishing vessel amounts to SCR 1.2 million, with the main operational cost items being labour remuneration (79%), food (9%), fuel (6%), and accommodation (5%). Vessel owners benefit from a fuel excise tax exemption equivalent to SCR 8.50 per litre. This subsidy reduced fleet-level costs by SCR 1.5 million and lowered the annual operational cost of a vessel by 4%. 8. The industry generated a value-added impact of SCR 43.5 million, with the fishing component and processing/exporting components contributing SCR 31.3 million and SCR 12.3 million respectively.
Publisher or UniversitySeychelles Fishing Authority