Over 110 discarded fish aggregating devices (FADs) recovered from some southernmost islands of Seychelles have been brought to the main island of Mahe for sorting, recycling, and reusing.
FADs are man-made floating wooden structures with hanging nets to attract fish used extensively in tuna fishing. These rafts can either be free floating or anchored to the seabed and have been known to have an adverse effect on the environment.
The Saya de Malha vessel, onboard which the expedition was carried out, berthed Port Victoria in the early afternoon on Monday following a 20-day cleanup event on Aldabra, Assumption, Cosmoledo, Astove, Farquhar, Cerf, and Providence.
The crew left Mahe on March 27 on the second FAD cleanup expedition, undertaken by the Seychelles Coast Guard with the participation of six students and a lecturer from the Seychelles Maritime Academy.
Greeting the participants at the Fishing Port, President Wavel Ramkalawan, the Patron of the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), congratulated them for embarking on this journey and that the expedition has been successful.
He personally thanked them for serving their country and helping the government in its effort to protect, keep the oceans clean and promote sustainable fishing.
During the cleanup, the crew had to carry out a recce on each of the islands to identify the locations of the FADs, following which they were transported closer to the boat that would carry the materials to the Saya de Malha vessel.
Seychelles' fisheries minister, Jean Francois Ferrari, said that this is the first time that the vessel has gone this far to collect FADs.
"Beach cleanings have been carried out on some islands in the area but FADs were not collected. A lot of old FADs were collected there with over 60 having been collected on Aldabra alone. The expedition was a success as we collected about 114 FADs, and we expect that during the next exercise, we will be collecting fewer FADs," said Ferrari.
He outlined that the FADs will be placed at an SFA hangar where they will be sorted.
"When we are sorting the FADs, we will try to establish who their owners are so that they can take responsibility, ensuring that they contribute to cleaning up the waste that they created. Once this is done we will see what can be exported. We will also look into selling buoys to companies. Our target is to reuse and recycle as much as possible," said Ferrari.
Mervin Mathieu, an artist who focuses on recycling discarded materials, is one of three individuals or companies involved in the circular economy of FADs.
"I already see the potential of all these materials. I am very interested in what can be recycled. I want to embark on this programme so as to introduce our youth in schools to the possibilities of transforming such materials. There are a lot of things that can be made out of such materials and we will need to train people to do so," said Mathieu.
The first expedition was carried out late last year and the next is expected towards the end of 2023.
Source: Seychelles News Agency