Monaco Explorations: Seychelles backs initiative to nurture young scientists
The Monaco Explorations expedition in the western Indian Ocean on board the South African oceanographic vessel, S.A. Agulhas II. (Monaco Explorations)
The Monaco Explorations' Indian Ocean expedition was a success and the platform is looking forward to extending and continuing the cooperation through new projects, said a top official on Thursday.
The statement was made by Dr. Robert Calcagno, managing director of the expedition, in a ceremony in which he presented the work of the scientists that began in November 2022 in the Western Indian Ocean Islands.
"This Indian Mission was a success because more than 60 organisations worked together through 20 different nationalities and during the entire mission, we had over 170 actors," he said.
The Monaco Explorations expedition in the western Indian Ocean on board the South African oceanographic vessel, S.A. Agulhas II, left Cape Town in early October 2022, went to Mauritius and Reunion, and arrived in Seychelles for a series of research on and around the Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The expedition took place over a period of two months and scientists carried out various research and fields around the Aldabra Atoll, on the Saya de Malha Bank, and around the island of Saint Brandon.
Now that some of the groundwork has been carried out, experts in the field are now reviewing the hours of footage recorded by Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to learn more about the life forms found in the ocean in the area.
In his presentation, Calcagno revealed that there were many rare species that have been found during the research at the Saya de Malha bank – some that they will be able to completely identify once all the data is gathered.
During the ceremony - held at the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (SITE) auditorium on the main island of Mahe - a soon-to-be-formed Seychellois Scientists' Society was also introduced to those attending the ceremony.
Annie Vidot, a young Seychellois scientist who was part of the Monaco expedition, said she is still laying the groundwork for the society and has already reached out to the Blue Economy Research Institute at the University of Seychelles.
The Minister for Blue Economy and Fisheries, Jean Francois Ferrari, said, "I am backing this initiative, together with all those here present as this is the way to produce more Seychellois scientists."
Calcagno said that the work and the friendly relationship won't stop and will be consolidated on a long-term basis and will be made of further co-operations. He extended an invitation to the Seychelles government for the 14th edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative scheduled for March 20.
Ferrari thanked the government of Monaco for the close collaboration which he said is essential and forms the basis for scientific, political and economic collaboration.
"There is still an enormous amount of research to be done in these domains and we are sure that the partnership and trust between our countries will permit research information exchange and the treasures which lie in this information," he said.
Monaco Explorations was initiated by Prince Albert I of Monaco over 100 years ago and is now being headed by his great-great-grandson Prince Albert II of Monaco. The project was created with the aim of supporting marine governance and planning.