The President of the African Republic of Seychelles, Danny Faure, has announced the extension of the Seychelles marine protected area. Thanks to the approval of thirteen new protection zones, a huge marine area will be protected, covering a total of 410,000 square kilometers, about one third of the oceanic territory of the Seychelles, an area larger than Germany.
This is the result of the debt-nature exchange signed in 2012 by the Government of Seychelles and the Nature Conservancy Association. The island nation had committed to trade part of its huge public debt for the implementation of its water conservation and climate change adaptation measures. Nature Conservancy had granted a loan of $21.4 million to the Seychelles to "provide a cash flow to finance reef protection, fisheries and ecosystem adaptation to climate change, as well as to improve financial health".
"After six years of hard work, planning and over 200 consultation meetings, today we are setting the third and final milestone in the development of a Seychelles water protection plan", said Danny Faure. "Understanding the importance of the ocean to the people of our nation, at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, I had the opportunity to announce the courageous decision to increase the marine protected area from 0.04% to 30% by 2020. Long before the current global target of protecting 30% of the oceans by 2030. Seychelles is now ten years ahead of the international targets".
Seychelles' marine biodiversity is threatened by overfishing, land-based pollutants and habitat degradation due to offshore oil exploration and extraction, as well as rising water temperatures. The aim of the new protected areas is precisely to safeguard these delicate ecosystems that are home to endangered species, such as the green turtles (Chelonia mydas), the hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and one of the last populations of dugongs (Dugong dugon) in the Indian Ocean. (source: lifegate.com)
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