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Boosting Quality, Safety of Fish in the Indian Ocean

Panafrican News Agency, 18 November 2000

Port-Louis, Mauritius - A two-day regional workshop on upgrading the quality and safety of fish and related products in the Indian Ocean region, opened Friday at the International conference centre in Seychelles.

It is a joint programme between the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Seychelles Agriculture and Marine Resources Ministry

Finley Racombo, Principal Secretary in the Agriculture and Marine Resources Ministry, told participants that Seychelles depended heavily on the fisheries industry not only as a source of food, but also as a major foreign exchange earner.

He urged the participants to avail themselves of the workshop in order to assist their organisations and protect their nations' export industries.

The workshop is expected to enhance participants' knowledge and keep them abreast with changes in the industry, especially with regard to the export of fish products.

Participants are expected to cover different aspects of fisheries, including fish handling from harvest time to when the products reach the consumers, and general principles of food hygiene and sanitation..

According to Christopher Hoareau, Seychelles Chief Fisheries Inspector, it is very important to monitor the quality of fish products to avoid deterioration during the many stages they go through.

Hoareau said although the people working in the industry may have the necessary training, the workshop would help provide the basic theoretical background dealing with quality and hygiene.

The total annual fish production in the COMESA region is put at 2.8 million metric tonnes, with the potential of reaching 6.7 million metric tonnes. It is believed that less than half of the fish resources in the region are being exploited.

Fisheries is also important in the region as a source of employment, high quality protein and income.

Seychelles is said to be the highest fish consuming nation in the world with 65 kilogrammes of fish per capita.