Coral reef monitoring and management plans for the Seychelles Outer Islands – Alphonse, Desroches, Poivre and Farquhar.
The Island Conservation Society (ICS) is responsible for environmental management on the outer islands, including of marine water and coral reefs. CORDIO has a long history working with ICS, starting in 2002 with a joint expedition to Cosmoledo, in the Aldabra Island group, and conducting reef resilience assessments in the Amirantes group in 2008 for ICS, and in Farquhar island with ICS and the National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project.
In 2016, CORDIO is working under a contract with ICS, under the Outer Islands Project to improve management of coral reefs focusing on four islands under ICS’ responsibility – Alphonse (including Bijoutier and St. Francois), Desroches, Poivre and Farquhar. For these four islands a common coral reef monitoring protocol and a coral reef management plan will be developed. In addition, a national coral collection facility will be designed, to be hosted at the University of the Seychelles.
Work has started with a coral reef monitoring workshop held at ICS in Victoria, Mahé, from 11-12 October 2016. Participants included the conservation officers responsible for coral reef monitoring and management from the four islands, and representatives from other groups in the Seychelles conducting coral reef monitoring. The output from this first workshop will be a draft coral reef monitoring protocol that meets the needs and constraints of the individual islands, and can be adapted to each one.
Next steps in the project will be to draft the coral reef management plans, and plan for a coral collection and facility housed at the University of the Seychelles, that will support education and training in coral reefs and marine management, and to inspire students from high school to university levels to conserve coral reefs as a cornerstone of the Seychelles physically, economically and culturally.
The Outer Islands Project of the Government of the Seychelles is supported by the Global Environment Facilitate (GEF) through UNDP. The existing protected area system in the country is primarily situated in the Inner (Granitic) Islands of the country. The Outer Islands of the Seychelles make up more than half of the total number of islands within the archipelago but there are only two fully gazetted protected areas: (i) Aldabra Special Reserve (15,260 ha terrestrial and 23,100 ha marine) and (ii) the African Banks Protected Area (2 ha terrestrial and 3 ha marine), as well as two declared Nature Reserves (Boudeuse and Etoile, each less than 1 ha.).
The project seeks to promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and marine biodiversity in the Seychelles’ Outer Islands by expanding the protected areas system and strengthening protected area management, supported by broad-scale ecosystem planning and sustainable land management activities to conserve ecosystem functions.
Key links for the Outer Islands project: