Previous posts on this blog (see posts of 21 & 29 June and July 18 & 31 2009) have described the GIF/MFF project with Seychelles artisanal shark fisherman to build their capacity to better manage their fishery and fulfil their roles under the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA). This project is now coming to an end and one of the key outcomes was attained at the beginning of December namely the establishment and legal registration of a new Association under the Registrar of Associations Act.
The “Artisanal Shark Fishers’ Association” (ASFA) or “Lasosyasyon Peser Reken” received its certificate of registration and hence became a legal entity on the 1st December 2010. The Articles of Association include, amongst other things, the Mission Statement and Objectives of the association and these are reproduced below:
“To secure a sustainable artisanal shark fishery and the livelihoods of its practitioners”.
• To promote and protect the artisanal shark fishery and the rights of the fishers therein.
• To promote sound development practices which foster a sustainable artisanal shark fishery and an improved standard of living for fishers.
• Represent shark fishers’ concerns and interests, and protect their rights in appropriate committees and fora.
• Seek to develop new markets and outlets for artisanal shark fishery produce.
• Add value to artisanal shark fishery produce and activities through innovation and capacity building.
• Promote optimal usage of sharks caught.
• To generate, raise or access funds and develop strategic partnerships to advance the objectives above.
The Association will be holding its first AGM early in the New Year where the full articles will be endorsed (and if necessary amended) by members and the Board of Directors for the first two year cycle elected. GIF will continue to supply some basic secretarial support to ASFA in its formative stages until such time as the association has sufficient capacity to operate independently.
The formation of ASFA is a fundamental step in empowering artisanal shark fishers to: protect their rights and livelihoods in a changing legislative and management environment and better manage the fishery for a sustainable future. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours (Contributed by John Nevill).