"Voice of the Ocean": New NGO in Seychelles starts promoting use of reef-friendly sunscreens
The first sign was revealed on Friday at Kafe Kreol in the presence of the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari and the district's elected member of the National Assembly, Sylvanne Lemiel. (Salifa Karapertyan, Seychelles News Agency)
Promoting the use of reef-friendly sunscreens among tourists and locals using the beaches of Seychelles to protect the ocean and marine life is the first project being undertaken by a newly launched non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Dubbed 'Voice of the Ocean', the NGO seeks to bring more awareness to the public about the danger traditional sunscreens pose to marine life, especially corals and reefs.
According to the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "chemicals in some sunscreens that can harm marine life include: Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor, 3-Benzylidene camphor, nano-Titanium dioxide, nano-Zinc oxide, Octinoxate, Octocrylene."
The chairperson of Voice of the Ocean, Mervin Cedras, said that he and his team will be setting up signs on multiple beaches of Seychelles encouraging people to protect the ocean through the use of reef-friendly sunscreen.
"We want to create awareness among the community, the youth and tourists who come to Seychelles allowing them to discover things that they otherwise might not know. At the moment there are sunscreens out there that are reef-friendly. This is also an opportunity for entrepreneurs, especially local ones, to come up with a sunscreen that is environmentally-friendly and biodegradable by using local raw materials," said Cedras.
The Voice of the Ocean, a not-for-profit organisation was also launched on the day. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY
The first sign was revealed on Friday at Kafe Kreol, a restaurant located at Anse Royale, one of Seychelles' popular beaches in the south of Mahe, the main island.
Present at the short ceremony, the fisheries minister, Jean Francois Ferrari, said that "sometimes we do things not knowing that we can hurt the ocean, not knowing that what we do has an impact on the lives of many other people."
Ferrari said that "today we are at Anse Royale, a tourist area, where we want to see the development of tourism. We know that we cannot achieve this objective if we ourselves and our partners and visitors contribute to messing up the environment. We have a task. The hotels, and guest houses that are being built here and that exist here already need to be part of this effort to keep our sea in good health."
He further added that the project is a multi-faceted project that involves many people and "is a link between the tourism business and the protection of the environment, between the fishing industry and the protection of the ocean and the reef."
Voice of the Ocean was also launched on the same day. It seeks to preserve, restore and sustainably develop the ocean surrounding Seychelles. It will be an umbrella for multiple projects that are centered around the purpose.
The organisation started with the coming together of three friends, all fishermen, seeking to give back to the community rather than just harvesting from the ocean. Together with members who later joined, the team wants to be the voice of the ocean by speaking for it.