Coral reef restoration: 3 sites in Seychelles chosen for REEFFISH project
Through the project, the fisheries ministry of Seychelles is seeking to restore the identified coral reef ecosystems. (Nature Seychelles)
Coral reefs of Anse Royale bay, Silhouette Island and Curieuse Island in Seychelles have been identified as sites for the REEFFISH project aimed at increasing the resilience of fishing communities that rely on coral reefs for their livelihoods.
The regional project is being carried out in Seychelles, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, and Mauritius. With a total of $4.4 million being distributed among the countries, the project is funded by the Japanese government and supported by the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Through the project, the fisheries ministry of Seychelles is seeking to restore the identified coral reef ecosystems and assist the fishing communities in better managing the resources of coral reefs.
The principal secretary for fisheries, Roy Clarisse, told reporters on Wednesday after a second meeting of the steering committee, that not only are they looking to restore coral reefs with the help of environmental NGOs but considering how the pressure that currently exists on coral reefs can be reduced.
"We are looking at placing anchored FADs [fish aggregating devices] that can attract other species of fish, allowing fishermen to target other fish species. Under the project, fishermen will benefit with safety equipment such as flares, whistles, and lights among others," said Clarisse.
Three sites were chosen for the project - Silhouette, Anse Royale and Curieuse for specific purposes.
Clarisse explained that Silhouette is a site used for artisanal fishing by fishers from fishing communities of northern Mahe.
"Even if there isn't a lot of artisanal fishing activity taking place at Anse Royale, there are high levels of tourism activities that affect these corals. Curieuse is the third site, and as a marine park, there are a lot of vessels that anchor in the area, affecting the corals," he added.
Restoration works on the reefs will be carried out by the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) and Island Conservation Society (ICS) and both are represented on the project's steering committee.
The national project coordinator for Seychelles, Ameer Ebrahim, explained that ICS is already carrying out coral monitoring works on Silhouette, and as such, it was an easy pick as a partner for the project. The ICS team will also be tasked with carrying out surveys in the area.
MCSS will be responsible for work to be carried out at Anse Royale, whereas the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA) will be tasked with restoring and protecting the reefs at Curieuse, which already falls under the authority's mandate.
"Work has already started and we are in the stage of procurement of several things, such as a patrol vessel that will be used by the authority. We are holding discussions with the District Administration's office of Glacis for us to place an ice plant in the district as the community there has expressed that this is something they need. We will carry out coral monitoring in November, and December this year and the report will be released next year," explained Ebrahim.