Ocean Day 2021 – Saving Seychelles seas |10 June 2021
Scattered off the East coast of Africa, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, are the Seychelles Islands guarding one of its most prized possessions – its ocean.
Surrounded by turquoise waters and vibrant marine life, it is no wonder that the Seychelles Islands have vowed to keep their ocean from harm. In March 2020, the island nation’s government announced the extension of the protected marine area to 30% of its waters, an area larger than Germany.
The islands previously made headlines as it banned the use of plastic straws and bags in efforts to reach its goal of becoming a plastic-free nation with its most recent move being banning balloons, effective as of April 1, 2021.
It takes a village
The archipelago’s achievements would be nothing without the support from the local community, government, NGOs and other conservation groups.
Global Vision International (GVI) runs volunteer and international education programmes with two expedition bases in Seychelles, at Cap Ternay on Mahé, and Curieuse island. Both are within national marine parks with GVI volunteers working on critical marine conservation projects and contribute towards various conservation-related surveys.
Nature Seychelles manages the Cousin Island Special Reserve, one of the oldest marine protected areas in Seychelles, and the reserve has since been transformed into a thriving sanctuary for several endemic species and an important site for hawksbill turtles.
Island Conservation Society (ICS) is responsible for the conservation management on Alphonse, Desroches, Farquhar and Silhouette, advising, managing environmental and conservation issues on outer islands under the lease of the Islands Development Company (IDC).
Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) is a public trust established by the local government which manages and protects two world heritage sites of Seychelles, namely, Aldabra and Vallée de Mai. Aldabra is the world’s largest raised coral atoll and a refuge for many endangered species requiring protection.
Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S) promotes sustainable living involving Seychellois, government and partners. The organisation aims at combining the traditional Creole practices that were in harmony with nature and modern technological innovations that help makes lives easier without harming the environment.
The Ocean Project is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, established in response to the mounting threats affecting Seychelles oceans and seas. Their mission is to protect oceans and seas through education, action and research and with projects including beach clean-ups and campaigns encouraging the reduced use of plastic products.
Save Our Seas Foundation based in Switzerland funds and supports research, conservation and education programmes. The foundation has a biological field station based on D’Arros Island in the Amirantes Group, which conducts research on D’Arros Island and St Joseph and the waters around them. It also has a Marine Explorers Programme for young people and a Youth Ocean Ambassadorship programme developed to mentor future leaders in ocean conservation.
Global Impact Network – The Seychelles Islands officially became the first destination to create its online community page on the sustainability platform on World Environment Day 2021. Global Impact Network is an app that allows individuals and organisations to take action anywhere and for any ecologically oriented cause.
Playing your part
In sharing our pristine paradise with you, we are entrusting you with our most cherished treasure. You can join us on our mission to protect our oceans through gestures that could even enhance your island experience.
Request plastic-free alternatives – To reduce the negative impact plastic has on our ocean, switch to sustainable alternatives such as reusable water bottles, containers, bags and recycle as much as possible. The Seychelles Islands have banned plastic goods such as bags and straws, so it is very easy to find alternatives around the islands.
Consume sustainable seafood – As fish populations rapidly decrease due to increased demand, loss of habitat and unsustainable fishing practices, help reduce this heavy demand for overexploited species by choosing sustainable seafood. Seychelles is an island paradise where local fishermen offer sustainable options around every corner.
Leave nothing behind – Our ocean has a world of wonders to offer which you can explore and admire without touching or harming any wildlife and corals. You can even participate in local beach clean-ups or have your own beach clean-up as you stroll along the sandy shores.
Don’t purchase products that exploit marine life – We all want to take a piece of paradise home with us, however, it is important to be aware of what kind of products you are purchasing as some contribute to the damage of delicate coral reefs and endangered species. Try your best to avoid items such as coral and shell jewellery, tortoiseshell accessories and shark products.
Avoid ocean harming products – While protecting yourself from UV Rays, remember to protect our marine life by switching to non-toxic or mineral sunscreens instead of the traditional chemical ones. Alternatives such as the People4Ocean sunscreen can be found in Seychelles.
Support organisations working towards protecting the ocean – The Seychelles Islands are also home to various organisations dedicated to protecting the oceans through activities such as beach and ocean clean-ups and coral nurseries. Lend a helping hand to these organisations either through financial support, volunteering or advocacy.
Educate yourself on marine matters – Once you educate yourself about marine-related issues, you will realise that all life on Earth is connected to it convincing you to ensure its wellbeing and share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
Influence change within your community and be an advocate – Your dedication to the ocean does not have to end with your trip to Seychelles. You can influence people within your community by advocating for ocean conservation and sharing sustainable tips with people back home. You can even find marine conservation marine projects close to you and show your support.