World Wetland Day |02 February 2024
More mangrove trees panted at Ramsa’ site in Port Launay
Today, February 2 is World Wetland day. For this occasion, the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment is once again highlighting the importance of wetlands.
This was through a two-hour activity held yesterday morning at the Constance Ephelia Resort, in Port Launay. The occasion served a dual purpose as it marked the 20th anniversary of the ‘Ramsar’ site in Port Launay.
Present for the ceremony were Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment Minister Flavien Joubert, elected member of the National Assembly for Port Glaud Egbert Aglaé, general manager of Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles Stephane Duchenne, environment and education officials as well as students of Port Glaud primary school and the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA).
This year’s theme declared by the ‘Rasmar’ Conservation is ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’ and Minister Joubert said it “denotes the importance of the connection between people and these fragile but vital ecosystems.”
It has been 20 years since Seychelles took a bold and historic decision to designate its first ‘Rasmar’ site, seen as wetland of international importance, making it the oldest wetland.
Moreover, this paved the way for two other ‘Rasmar’ sites, namely the ‘Mare Aux Cochons’ high altitude wetlands and the coastal wetlands on the Aldabra Atoll, both designated in 2010.
Over the course of two decades, they successfully restored approximately two acres where mangroves had ceased to thrive, safeguarding this delicate ecosystem rich in biodiversity.
This achievement was accomplished through clean-up activities and the strategic replanting of mangroves trees. “Maintaining this mostly mangrove ecosystem has not been an easy task,” said Minister Joubert.
There were numerous support including non-governmental organisations and private businesses, of which the Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles stands as one of the main contributors, added the minister.
Head of the resort’s environment team, Markus Ultsch-Unrath made a presentation to give a better insight on the significant improvement of the Port Glaud wetland.
The most noticeable change was the transformation of the black, muddy area into greenery. The presentation also introduced the individuals behind this restoration since day one.
Additionally, the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment presented a token of appreciation to two remarkable individuals who played a vital role in this project, namely Dr Murugaya, a former senior project officer of the wetland unit who shared a brief history of the site, and France Sophola, a former supervisor of the same unit.
Furthermore, an award of recognition went to the late Cedric Thomas. His token was given to his wife, Veronique Thomas.
Six students from the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA) also received their certificates presented by Corrine Julie and Nature Seychelles director Kerstin Henry for taking part in a training entitled ‘Mangrove Conservation Programme in Seychelles.’ This training was organised by the Nature Seychelles through the Locally Empowered Area Protection (LEAP) project.
Minister Joubert stressed on the role of youngsters as important stakeholders to spread the word of hope for the sustainable use of our wetlands.
“It is important for everyone to see the importance of these areas and not only see it as waste of land,” he stated, adding that the ministry could not single-handedly do all the changes but a collective effort was needed.
The activity in Port Launay ended with the planting of new mangrove trees and a tour of the wetland area by the pupils and Minister Joubert.
A second activity for World Wetland Day is taking place today on La Digue for the public to better understand the marshes on this island and as such better protect them.