Restoration of coral reefs: 3 sites in the Seychelles chosen for the REEFFISH project

Through this project, the Seychelles Department of Fisheries seeks to restore identified coral reef ecosystems. (Nature Seychelles)

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The coral reefs of Anse Royale Bay, Silhouette Island and Curieuse Island in the Seychelles have been identified as sites for the REEFFISH project aimed at increasing the resilience of fishing communities who depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods .

The regional project is carried out in Seychelles, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar and Mauritius. With a total of $4.4 million split between the countries, the project is funded by the Japanese government and supported by the Food organization (FAO).

Through this project, the Seychelles Department of Fisheries seeks to restore identified coral reef ecosystems and help fishing communities better manage coral reef resources.

Principal Fisheries Secretary Roy Clarisse told reporters after a second steering committee meeting on Wednesday that not only were they looking to restore coral reefs with the help of environmental NGOs, but they were considering how the pressure that currently exists on coral reefs may reduce.

“We plan to place FADs anchored [fish aggregating devices] which can attract other fish species, allowing anglers to target other fish species. As part of the project, fishermen will be provided with safety equipment such as flares, whistles and lights among others,” Clarisse said.

Three sites were chosen for the project – Silhouette, Anse Royale and Curieuse for specific purposes.

Clarisse explained that Silhouette is a site used for artisanal fishing by fishermen from fishing communities in the north of Mahé.

“Even though there is not much artisanal fishing activity at Anse Royale, there are high levels of tourist activity that affects these corals. Curious is the third site, and as a marine park it there are a lot of ships anchoring in the area, affecting the corals,” he added.

Reef restoration work will be carried out by the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) and the Island Conservation Society (ICS) and both are represented on the project’s steering committee.

The national project coordinator for Seychelles, Ameer Ebrahim, explained that ICS was already doing coral monitoring work on Silhouette and as such was an easy choice as a project partner. . The ICS team will also be responsible for conducting surveys in the area.

The MCSS will be responsible for the works to be carried out at Anse Royale, while the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA) will be responsible for restoring and protecting the reefs of Curieuse, which already falls under the authority’s mandate.

“The works have already started and we are at the stage of acquiring several things, such as a patrol boat that will be used by the authority. We are having discussions with the Glacis district administration office for us to place a ice plant in the district as the community there has expressed that it is something they need. We will be doing coral monitoring in November and December this year and the report will be released next year,” said Abraham explained.

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