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The environmental quandary of Seychelles' new island: a call to action against stray fads

Victoria, Seychelles | March 8, 2024, Friday @ 10:13 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Contributed: Olivier Manaut | Views: 4711
The environmental quandary of Seychelles' new island: a call to action against stray fads

Drifting FADS near Derrick Island. (Oceanika)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' addition of Derrick Island as its 116th marvel has not just expanded its geographical tapestry but also spotlighted a burgeoning ecological dilemma.

Amidst this newfound island's lush biodiversity and scenic splendor, a less welcome discovery has emerged: a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) stranded in the vicinity of its pristine shores.

Olivier Manaut, leading the charge at the Seychellois non-governmental organisation Oceanika, aims to seek to awaken the awareness of all stakeholders involved and stresses that “Such occurrences, seemingly minor, unveil profound environmental crises demanding swift, impactful responses to rid our coral habitats of these neglected FADs."

The deployment of FADs, a cornerstone in the arsenal of modern fisheries, morphs into an ecological menace when they are left adrift, particularly threatening the delicate balance of coastal marine life.

The recent incident near Derrick Island casts a spotlight on the nuanced challenges these devices pose, with far-reaching implications for the vitality of marine life and the resilience of coral reefs. Despite the existence of solutions to track and retrieve these wandering FADs, essential for securing sustainable fishing eco-label, the pathway to such resources remains dauntingly narrow, as outlined by Oceanika’s head.

The FADS collecting mission in February. (Oceanika) Photo License: All Rights Reserved 

The organisation faced with substantial barriers in its mission to cleanse the seas still nurtures the hope for a collaborative front spanning fishery sectors, fishing control authorities, and environmental guardians, contingent on a shared commitment to the cause.

The predicament off the shores of Seychelles' latest gem underscores the imperative for a collective stride towards curtailing the environmental toll of commercial fishing operations. This involves crafting and implementing strategies that not only facilitate the recovery of lost FADs but also improve the toolkit available for their retrieval.

In a parting thought, Jean Marie Moutia founding member of Oceanika emphasises, "The oversight of forsaken fishing apparatus like FADs near our islands calls for undivided attention and a unified endeavor from every party involved, to fortify the guardianship of our precious marine habitats, not just around Seychelles but globally. This, however, hinges on a collective effort to act.”

Oceanika is optimistic that the necessary authorities and fishing industry crucial to the country, will take the needed actions, as there appears to be a willingness to do so.

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Tags: Derrick Island, Oceanika

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