An area twice the size of Great Britain, the Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean known for its turquoise waters, enormous tortoises and amazing wildlife. It has expanded protection to cover 400,000 square kilometers of its ocean. This action satisfies the nation’s long-standing commitment to protect 30% of its marine waters.
Former President Danny Faure declared in 2020 at the signing of a decree that established 13 new marine protected areas that “Seychelles’ marine ecology is the basis upon which the economy is constructed”, with fisheries and tourism serving as the country’s two main economic pillars.
The inhabitants of Seychelles, an ocean nation, rely on a robust marine ecosystem. More than one-third of the workforce in the nation works in the fishing and tourist industries, which is helping to combat illicit fishing and create world-class sustainable fisheries. The Seychelles and other ocean countries are among the most vulnerable to climate change due to their reliance on marine resources. However, Seychelles will be better equipped for the ambiguous consequences of global warming and rising waters, ocean acidification and adaptation because significant areas are now under improved protection and effective management.
The nation’s challenge is to stop the unsustainable exploitation of its biodiversity, which it views as its primary competitive advantage in the world. Overfishing, inland pollution, habitat destruction from offshore oil exploration and extraction and rising sea temperatures all pose threats to the island republic’s marine biodiversity. The expansion is intended to protect the habitats and nesting grounds of threatened turtles, the last remaining dugong species in the Indian Ocean, coral reefs and enable the nation to engage in more sustainable fishing.
Ocean and marine resources may concurrently support vibrant ecosystems, economic growth and strong communities when they are correctly managed. This outstanding accomplishment in the Seychelles is proof that preserving environments now, will benefit governments and local populations later on. The Nature Conservancy estimates that up to 85 countries might utilise a similar model to create more resilient economies through marine conservation, opening the door to even greater ocean protection.
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