The sea cucumber harvest is here!! The season kicked off on the 1st October 2016 and closes June 2017. The fishermen are seizing the opportunity as sea cucumber is of high market value with soaring chance for earnings. My first week of internship I was able to capture the different stages leading up to exportation of the species, through site visits and interviews.
It is at the brink of dawn that the divers gear up to begin their harvest; I was assigned along with the inspection officers from the Seychelles Fishing authority (SFA) to be on site. The fishermen were required to fill in the sea cucumber departure form before heading out to sea. The form contained important information such as the names of the crew members, the estimated date for landing and the necessary equipment.
We were also required to be present for the unloading of the sea cucumbers, the logbook of the boat owner was verified and the amount and weight of the different sea cucumbers was recorded. I was amazed to know the different names of the species, the most common being Flower Teat and White Teat.
The sea cucumber was then transferred to one of the 4 main processing factories in Seychelles. I managed to visit one of the factories called Providence Sea Cucumber located at Providence. The sea cucumbers were being boiled in salt in order to be left dry for 3 months before it is ready for export. In the presence of concerned authorities, the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC), Environment officer, the SFA inspectors along with the owner of the factory gathered information to make sure that the correct quantity of the different species weere being packed and sealed for shipment.
It is to my understanding that the blue economy is really vast, the different sectors however all work together to achieve one common goal, and that I believe is a great initiative. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to intern at the SFA and broaden my knowledge on the different sectors within the organisation. The highlight remains my research on the sea cucumber, it is therefore with great pleasure that I share this information with you today.
Written by Nathalie Young