The majority of committee members were voted back in and a recap of a very successful 2017 was undertaken at the meeting.
The Seychelles Sports Fishing Club (SSFC) held its 9th AGM at the Seychelles Yacht Club last Friday evening where some 30 members were in attendance.
Chairman Tarak Patel opened the meeting by stating that 2017 was a successful one for the club, with 6 fishing tournaments held, as well as the National Junior Fishing Tournament
which was hosted with sponsorships from Mason’s Travel, Steve’s Marine, TODAY in Seychelles newspaper and other volunteers. He added that the year ended on a high note with a gala evening at Eden Bleu Hotel where anglers and team captains were rewarded for their efforts.
Mr. Patel also said that four years ago, one of the key objectives of the club was conservation and sustainability and that they had surpassed all expectations. He proudly explained that at The Billfish Foundation (TBF) awards that was held in Florida USA this month, Seychelles placed 19 times out of 49 places and won 5 out of 14 first places for the Indian Ocean as top tagging anglers and top tagging Captain. Globally, Seychelles had a captain who finished 2nd as top tagging captain and one angler finished 3rd as top tagging angler. “All these awards were a true reflection of the success of this conservation program that we are all supporting, and I wish to thank all of our members for getting onboard with such enthusiasm and I hope that the committee that is elected continues this conservation work with such passion. We are entering our 10th year and we have grown into a reputable body in the Seychelles. We are now considered a major stakeholder in regard to fishing and are consulted on the much legislation that is being discussed at government level. For the first time in 6 years, SSFC was invited personally by the Principal Secretary of Fisheries for a meeting and we have a critical relationship with SFA that we must continue to develop to improve the conditions for sport fishing and our fisheries in general” he added.
The Treasurer of SSFC Marc Houareau then presented his report for fiscal year 2017 and went over the 2017 audited accounts with the members. He explained that the club was financially sound except for the fact that CSR donations as well as sponsorships had declined slightly in 2017. However, the sale of fish caught in the National and La Digue fishing tournaments helped to increase the revenue for the club. The accounts for 2017 were adopted unanimously and the club’s auditors Baker Tilly Seychelles were reappointed for the year 2018.
Finally, the vote for the Executive Committee members was taken and the following members were voted onto the board for a two-year term: Tarak Patel (Chairman), Mr. Marc Houareau (Treasurer), Grant Heyer (Secretary), and Annalise Savy, Faizal Suleman, Farouk Jean-Baptiste, Fred Payet and Damien Berlouis as standard members. Farima Barbier remained as the Executive Secretary.
Under Any Other Business (AOB), newly-elected Tarak Patel also reiterated that the club had to tackle the issue of sportsmanship given that some anglers in Seychelles had started to fish for billfish with electric reels and also rope tassels. He reiterated that the Club had banned the use of both methods in all its fishing tournaments. “Be reminded that we are sportsmen, where we fish ethically, win with pride, integrity and lose with dignity. We are the showcase for Seychelles sportfishing, so let us show the world that we fish professionally” he stated. “We are in constant communication with the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA), Stanford University, IFREMER, Yale University who was in Seychelles a few days ago, and many other organisations who are supporting our conservation efforts.”
In summary, the SSFC is one of the most innovative and progressive sporting association in the Seychelles and in only a decade, it has managed to put Seychelles on the global fishing map.