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Corals from Seychelles' Aldabra Atoll flourishing at Oceanographic Institute in Monaco 

Victoria, Seychelles | April 4, 2024, Thursday @ 09:28 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5192
Corals from Seychelles' Aldabra Atoll flourishing at Oceanographic Institute in Monaco 

Species like 'Acropora valida' are exhibiting a 50 percent growth rate. (Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Coral samples taken by the Monaco Explorations as part of its Indian Ocean expedition in November 2022 from Aldabra, one of Seychelles' UNESCO World Heritage sites, are flourishing in the Oceanographic Institute in Monaco.

This was confirmed by Seychelles' Minister for Blue Economy and Fisheries, Jean-Francois Ferrari,  during the 15th edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI) last month. The MBI is co-organised by the Oceanographic Institute – Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. 

Ferrari described Aldabra as a living laboratory and said, "The preliminary results from the expeditions are fascinating. We had the opportunity to interact with many scientists.  Aldabra is a living coral bank. They've stated that about 82 percent of corals found elsewhere in the region could originate from Aldabra."

For the successful transfer and preservation of colonies collected from Aldabra Atoll, leading experts such as Dominique Barthélémy from Océanopolis Aquarium in Brest, and Olivier Brunel from the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, provided invaluable support, ensuring the seamless logistics and preparation for the colonies' transportation.

These colonies, destined to be conserved in public aquariums as part of the World Coral Conservatory initiative, are an important stride in coral conservation efforts, underpinned by close scientific collaboration between Seychelles, France, and Monaco.

Ferrari emphasised the importance of the samples being stored and propagated in these laboratories.

Ferrari at the 15th edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI) last month. (Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy) Photo License: CC-BY 

"It's good that apart from the Oceanographic Institute, they are also being stored in three other laboratories in Europe as well. If one day we lose the corals at Aldabra because of a bleaching event, these samples will be crucial in the rehabilitation of the area," he said.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the Department of the Blue Economy said the results of the conservation efforts have been promising through its positive growth maintained under controlled conditions.

"Species like 'Acropora valida' exhibiting a 50 percent growth rate and 'Galaxea fascicularis' showing an impressive 100 percent growth rate in aquariums. Additionally, the successful transportation of 56 out of 58 collected colonies to various public aquariums across Europe marks a significant milestone in the preservation of coral diversity," said the department.

Through this expedition, Seychelles gained access to cutting-edge scientific research and expertise, enhancing its capacity for understanding and managing its marine ecosystems. The transfer and preservation of Aldabra coral colonies for conservation in public aquariums not only contribute to raising awareness about the importance of coral reefs but also bolster the island nation's efforts in promoting sustainable Blue Economy practices.

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.

"We are expecting positive results from the Saya de Malha part of the expedition as well. Especially about the seagrass research and information about the species found on the sea bed. They've even found a new species of shrimp. These are all information that has been shared with both Seychelles and Mauritius because the area is jointly managed under the Joint Management Agreement," said the minister. 

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Tags: UNESCO World Heritage sites, Monaco Explorations, Monaco Blue Initiative, World Coral Conservatory

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