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Coral reefs: Coordinated approach to mitigate bleaching discussed at DiDEM meeting in Seychelles 

Victoria, Seychelles | June 20, 2024, Thursday @ 11:05 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3395
Coral reefs: Coordinated approach to mitigate bleaching discussed at DiDEM meeting in Seychelles 

Ebrahim said all the experts had the opportunity to visit the St. Anne Marine Park and they were very shocked by the beauty of Seychelles. (Gerard Larose)

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A senior scientist from the Monaco Scientific Centre said a coordinated approach is the ideal way to mitigate coral bleaching and climate change.

The statement was made by Dr Didier Zoccola, who was part of the team heading the Dialogue Science - Decision Makers for Integrated Management of Coastal and Marine Environment (DiDEM) project in Seychelles.

The collaboration headed by experts from the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) brought together experts from the University of Seychelles (UniSey), the Seychelles Park and Garden Authority, institutes and universities from the region in meetings, called a Thematic School.

Zoccola told reporters that the research is important but it has to work in tandem with other factors such as managing risks and marine protected areas are also important.

"Of course, you need the involvement of local communities because if not people will poach. The mitigation of pollution is also an important factor to consider. We are all involved in this protection. It's not only the scientist, the decision maker, or the authorities, everyone is involved in the protection of our planet," he added.

Zoccola touched on the work being done in Seychelles and highlighted certain challenges.

"Seychelles knows how to do coral restoration, we are now going forward to this. There is the problem of the scale of restoration and also what type of coral is being used in the restoration; are these corals resistant to temperature change or not? Because if we are not using heat-resistant coral at the next bleaching event all these efforts of restoration will be for nothing," he explained.

Talking about the work done during the week-long project for DiDEM, Zoccola emphasised the importance of neighbouring countries tackling these challenges together.

"It is important that the countries in the region are working together. Maybe they will be able to think of common actions together for restoration and managing marine protected areas," he said.

One of the participants, Seychellois fisheries specialist, Dr Ameer Ebrahim, described this week-long thematic school as a good opportunity for Seychelles and other countries in the region.

Apart from presentations and the theory portion, there was also a practical portion where the participants visited several sites dedicated to coral restoration.

"All the experts had the opportunity to visit the St. Anne Marine Park and they were very shocked by the beauty of Seychelles. In my capacity as a board member of Moyenne Island, I facilitated a visit to the small island on the coast of Mahe where they had the opportunity to do an excursion on the island and snorkel there to observe the coral," said Ebrahim.

"Not many people are aware, but there is a site on Moyenne Island that has been dedicated to coral reef restoration that is being financed by the UNDP and facilitated by the MCSS (Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles)," he added.

Apart from the practical aspect of the project, he highlighted the most interesting points and said, "The research about discovering the genetic makeup of corals was particularly interesting for me. And after listening to the other experts during this week, I realised that Seychelles is not alone in the challenges it faces. Climate change has no barrier."

The main aim of the DiDEM project was to provide doctoral and post-doctoral scientists, coral reef managers, and experts from non-governmental organisations the opportunity to share experiences, knowledge, and methods, especially about assessing the resilience of reef ecosystems. It also highlighted the importance of considering coral reefs as a natural heritage and building a coral social-ecological system that ultimately follows an integrated approach; bridging the final goal to put coral reef heritage as a cross-cutting body of analysis and management.

Over five days, the project, financed by Monaco Explorations, explored the concepts of resilience, vulnerability, heritage and social-ecological systems from the perspective of sustainable science.  

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Tags: Monaco Scientific Centre, DiDEM, University of Seychelles, Seychelles Park and Garden Authority

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