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New aquaculture training prospects at Seychelles Maritime Academy

Training and professional development of young Seychellois in the aquaculture sector is expected to become available locally now that the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) has developed a new certification called the Advanced Certificate in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture.

The two-year course is yet to be accredited and validated by the Seychelles Qualifications Authority and the certification has been developed by the SMA with the support of the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).

The head of the Aquaculture Division at the authority, Aubrey Lesperance, told SNA that “providing education and vocational training that provide students and trainees with the knowledge and professional skills needed to successfully enter aquaculture-related professions is now viewed as central to the future development of the sector.”

Lesperance explained that “the provision of higher-level training to government institutions, most notably the Aquaculture Division of the Seychelles Fishing Authority, to enable it to undertake its regulatory mandate, is also viewed as critical to the long-term sustainability of the emergent production sector,” adding “this would potentially appeal to school leavers who may want to pursue a career in aquaculture.”

The SFA is expected to play a key role in the new course delivery, with the authority sharing its aquaculture facilities and aquaculture expertise for training purposes. In addition, the SFA would assist in procuring the resources required to deliver the course.

A lecturer in fisheries science at the SMA, Vivek Vasu, told SNA that the Academy did have a certificate programme in fisheries sciences and fisheries technology, but pending accreditation of the new course, the academy has started some preparations.

“The initial work has been done, like we have developed a plan for classrooms, we have developed plans for two additional labs, which is a microbiology lab and a biochemistry lab, so all plans have been prepared, everything is ready, the only problem now is funding,” said Vasu.

In addition to more funding that the academy requires to run the course, additional infrastructures are also in need. On the issue of infrastructure, Lesperance explained that the SFA can share some resources with the academy.

“For instance, learners can use our facilities at the Aquaculture Facility. We can assist with our vessel and other facilities found at the fishing port in Providence where the acclamation and broodstock facilities are located,” he added.

Once offered, the Advanced Certificate in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture will cover several modules, including principles of aquaculture, fisheries and aquaculture legislation, marine ecology and conservation, basic administration and accounting, environmental impact, and sustainability.

Lesperance is confident that once accredited, the course can be implemented in 2024.

Aquaculture is on its way to being one of the island nation’s Blue Economy’s main sectors. Recently, the SFA updated its existing aquaculture policies in a bid to attract more investors in the sector, following amendments to the Seychelles National Aquaculture Policy that were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Source: Seychelles News Agency