Seychelles, where the environment is at the core of decision making


(Posted 05th March 2015)

The Seychelles archipelago, comprising 115 islands scattered over an area of nearly 1.4 million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, has made waves in recent years on the international scene, not just in tourism terms but for many other reasons. President James Alix Michel has been at the forefront to voice the concerns of small island nations about global warming and the subsequent rise in ocean levels. He is also the one who successfully merged the concepts of the green and blue economies, as both tourism – which depends on a pristine intact environment – and the ocean resources form the backbone of the country’s economy.

It is therefore noteworthy indeed that the Seychelles will become the first country in the world to launch a comprehensive marine spatial plan covering her entire ocean territory.

While just over 50 percent of Seychelles’ territorial area is now classified as a protected area, does this not include the ocean. About one percent of the ocean area is presently under protection as marine national parks or reserves, but under the new plan this percentage is set to rise to at least 10 percent, and probably more than that when the final version of the plan has been approved by the authorities.

Under the plan are fishing exclusion zones planned to ensure the fish can reproduce and grow to maturity while other areas are set aside for commercial fishing, ocean bed exploration and of course tourism, here in particular around such hugely important conservation areas like the Aldabra Atoll.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the ‘Debt for Nature Swap’ deal signed last week with the Paris Club group of creditor nations which underscored again the Seychelles’ commitment to be a world leader in conservation.

Seychelles, truly Another World and not just a marketing slogan.

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