Seychelles is planning how to use its oceanic zone
Fish caught in Seychelles waters. Fisheries revenue is the second pillar of the Seychelles' economy. (Gerard Larose, Seychelles Tourism Board)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles government in partnership with the private sector and environmental organisations is drafting a plan on how best to use its 1.3 million square kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of ocean space.
“The marine and terrestrial space of a country must be able to meet a wide range of uses which are defined by the needs of that nation, " said the the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and Energy in a statement, citing competition by various sectors for the same resources with the likelihood of conflict.
The Indian Ocean islands’ environment and energy minister Dr.Rolph Payet told delegates that while wealth from the ocean may seem limitless, it have a definable end and therefore needs to be used wisely to realise the country’s Blue Economy goals.
“Over 99% of our territory is made up of marine environment -- a vast asset which underscores the importance of the blue economy to our nation and the world, " he said.
He said the Blue Economy summit held on January 20 in Abu Dhbai stressed for marine planning to ensure best use of the country’s EEZ, hence the pursuit of a multi-use plan for Seychelles.
He said countries like Australia and the United Kingdom rely on such plans so as the make the best of what their EEZs have to offer.
His ministry said the marine multi-use plan ‘will contribute to the third component of the debt-for-adaptation swap that Seychelles is currently working on with The Nature Conservancy, an international non-governmental organisation’.
Officials at the meeting said Nature Conservancy and Oceans 5 are working with the Seychelles to make a big debt swap proposal to the Seychelles main creditors, the Paris Club, in Europe.
“If successful, this project will result in part of our EEZ being put aside as replenishment zones, and it will serve as a model for island and coastal nations worldwide to recast development goals and marine area management plans for a sustainable future," they said.
Among the aims of the plan is the restoration of coral reefs and mangroves, and which are expected to tone down the effects of sea level rise or flash floods..
“It will also contribute towards developing and reforming coastal zone management, fisheries, and marine policy and regulatory protection to cope with climate change, " said the environment ministry officials.