Seychelles' 1960s-era animal protection act gets an upgrade, with a focus on marine species
Now that Seychelles is protecting more of its marine territory, modern law is needed to ensure the conservation of species in these areas. (Save Our Seas Foundation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An update to the Wild Animals and Birds Protection Act -- legislation first enacted in 1961 -- will allow authorities in Seychelles to better protect its fauna, especially the marine species, a top official told SNA.
The director-general for Biodiversity Conservation and Management Division from the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment said recently that now that the island nation is protecting more of its marine territory, modern law is needed to ensure the conservation of species in these areas.
“We will put much more emphasis on our marine species, for example, our sharks and rays, species which are very topical currently. So, we want to introduce new categories in this law which will also be aligned to the IUCN endangered species,” said Marie May Muzungaile.
Muzungaille added that they want the new law to allow Seychelles “to better meet these obligations as and when they come out.” The director-general said the old law was not practical and the ministry had to come up with separate regulations to protect different species.
“Over the years we have seen many limitations with this law the way it was, so we have to revamp it and align it to the current circumstances the country and the world is in with regards to the conservation of wildlife,” explained Muzungaille.
The exercise to update this 60-year-old law is being funded under the GOS-GEF-UNDP A Ridge to Reef Approach for the Integrated Management of Marine, Coastal and Terrestrial Ecosystems in the Seychelles Project
The project aims to undertake a comprehensive approach that addresses the ‘whole island’ priorities of improved management and conservation of upland forest and agricultural ecosystems, as well as coastal and marine ecosystems in Seychelles.
This will lead to global benefits in terms of conservation of globally significant biodiversity and the effective management of large marine ecosystems - including coastal and near-shore marine ecosystems - and arrest and reverse ecosystem degradation.
The manager of the project, Joanna Prosper, told SNA that the main aim of the exercise is to identify gaps and weaknesses in the existing Act and recommend the best modalities to address the requirements and way forward.
“The consultant will then present a draft new Bill for review by the relevant authorities and stakeholders,” Prosper told SNA via email.