Several foreign fishing vessels engaged in illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Seychelles’ territorial waters have been intercepted by the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF).
The SDF in a communique on Friday said that the remarkable achievement was made possible through a collaborative effort involving the Coast Guard, Air Force, Special Forces, and the Island Development Company (IDC).
“The operation resulted in the apprehension of eight large vessels and 10 smaller vessels, with a total of 172 crew members detained. Seven of the large vessels hailed from Madagascar, carrying a collective crew of 164, each accompanied by one or two smaller vessels. Additionally, a vessel from Sri Lanka, carrying eight crew members, was also intercepted,” added the SDF.
Prompted by reports from local excursion vessels and the Islands Development Company (IDC), the operation saw the deployment of both surface and aerial assets to the Farquhar Group of islands, approximately 450 nautical miles southwest of Mahe, the main island.
The extensive operation, spanning several days, underscores Seychelles’ steadfast commitment to combatting IUU fishing and safeguarding its rich marine biodiversity, said the SDF.
SDF added that initial investigations revealed that the Malagasy vessels were predominantly involved in illegal sea cucumber harvesting, while the Sri Lankan vessel was engaged in illicit fishing activities. All intercepted vessels have been brought ashore for further comprehensive investigations.
The SDF has reaffirmed its dedication to collaborative efforts with both foreign and domestic partners. SDF is having liaison activities with concerned countries and regional partners aim to address the persistent issue of IUU fishing in the Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres.