Future Pêche’s Hook-to-Fork success story: Turning challenges into opportunities


The strong ones often are foreseen as those withstanding change, but in fact I believe, that those who recognise the need to adapt are the ones that will”. – Keith Andre, Presenter at Successful Agribusiness Workshop

These were the wise words of Keith Andre, owner and operator of Future Pêche (‘pêche’ meaning Fishing in French) in the small paradise island of Seychelles, located in the Indian Ocean. At only 39 years old, this young and vibrant agribusiness entrepreneur is a successful fisherman engaged in semi-industrial fishing operations for the supply of tuna and swordfish to local and export markets. He also operates a small storage and processing plant. As the son of an accountant and a military officer, this was not the career path he had envisioned for himself, however, he grew an appreciation for the ocean and the abundant opportunities it provided for persons wishing to pursue a career in the fishery industry of Seychelles.

On completing high school A-Levels, he interned as a fisherman for six months before leaving for France to pursue a Diploma in Fisheries and Navigation Technology and a Fishing Master Bachelor’s degree. He then returned to Seychelles with a plan. He planned to create his own agribusiness, but he needed access to finances. So he gained employment as a Fish Master on a local fishing boat, while he worked on his business plan.

In 2000, Keith was ready to establish himself as a business owner, so he accessed a low-interest loan from the local Seychelles Development Fund which was used to buy his own boat. However, there were a few bumps along the way. The local fishing industry faced climate change, basic physical infrastructural issues, and a lack of shared market information which translated into price and product instability.

Despite the existing challenges, Keith was truly enjoying his successes. Then, a new competitor entered the market using guerrilla tactics which caused drastic drops in prices. He was very determined to overcome this challenge, so he developed another plan. He approached the local Seychelles Development Fund again but this time, he accessed a loan to build a small storage and processing plant. This way, he would have storage access to maintain a constant supply of fish to support his sustainable operations.

Keith attended a World Seafood Forum, held in Brussels where he met many buyers, including processors who were interested in purchasing his premium products. He realised a high demand existed for tuna and swordfish but he had to guarantee consistency of supply. At the same time, his one boat operations could not ensure sustainability, so he purchased a new and larger vessel for expansion. Soon after, Future Pêche was accessing niche markets in Europe and Dubai.

In 2008, immediately after purchasing his second vessel, Somali Piracy activities in the Indian oceans almost paralysed the local industry operations. However, he maintained confidence in the authorities as he believed adequate efforts to combat the pirates existed. Future Pêche continued to operate and maintain their market arrangements until 2012, when the European Union (EU) imposed a ban on swordfish due to a finding showing its ability to contain high levels of mercury. This was indeed a blow. The market with the willingness to pay the highest premium was gone.

Keith was left with many questions but very few answers. The local industry could not sustain his current business environment, so he had some serious decisions to make. Hence, he diversified his product line by providing grouper and snapper to the local buyers. In 2013, Keith left his business and started volunteering full time with the local Fishermen and Boat Owners Association. There, he wrote a number of projects aimed at benefitting the entire community whereby he would also benefit. Soon after, he became the chairman of the association, managing four EU funded projects, to date.

Keith is indeed the driver of change he once wanted to see. He helps to drive the hook to fork programme which aims to ensure sustainable fishing practices and food safety. He is truly a champion and a great success story for the African, Caribbean and Pacific islands to follow.

Today, Keith is the president of the regional Indian Ocean Federation of Artisanal Fishermen. We wish him luck in his future endeavours!

The Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum is organised by CTA and partners in St Michael, Barbados from 02-06 November 2015. Stay tuned for more blog posts. Follow the Forum with Hashtags #CPAF15!

Photo credit: Keith Andre

Blogpost by Latoya Lewis, Social Reporter for the Caribbean-Pacific Agri-Food Forum 2015. 

Copyright © 2016, CTA. Technical Centre for Rural and Agricultural Cooperation

CTA is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.