It's been 10 years since Nature Seychelles made a splash in the local waters with the launch of its ground-breaking and game-changing Reef Rescuers project. Based on Praslin Island and working in the Cousin Island Special Reserve, the project sought to restore coral reefs damaged by climate change-induced coral bleaching. The herculean task was met with some scepticism and naysaying in some quarters. But a decade down the line, we have proved that, yes, we can restore corals. And we can do so at a large scale.
TODAY Newspaper; 16 December 2017: by Kate Carolus. The first report on the state of coral reefs of all countries of the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) is out. It was officially presented on Saturday 9 December in Nairobi, Kenya, during the ICRI General Assembly of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI). The purpose of the publication is to provide updated information on the state of coral reefs in the region, including impacts of one of the largest coral bleaching events in 2016.
Spreading from the western Pacific, the lethal heat wave associated to the 2015/17 El Niño hit the western Indian Ocean around February 2016. Here in the Seychelles, the water temperature averaged 30°C for four consecutive months, peaking over 31°C on some days!
A Report from Nature Seychelles’ International Volunteer Program
I arrived on Praslin and was met by two volunteers who showed me to the dorms at Nature Seychelles’ Island Conservation Centre and who helped me settle in. I then met Nature Seychelles’ Reef Rescuers team the next day - Louise and Austin.
After two underwater heat waves in 1998 and 2010, El Niño has once again struck coral reefs worldwide, triggering the third global coral bleaching event in recorded history.
Nature Seychelles’ Reef Rescuers is a leader in Africa, says international group
Nature Seychelles’ coral reef restoration project, the Reef Rescuers has been identified as a “Blue Solution for Africa” by an international group consisting of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), GRID Arendal and the German Government.
Its official, our oceans are experiencing a coral bleaching event on a global scale. Since October 2015, scientists of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been reporting high ocean temperatures across Hawaii and the Caribbean, causing widespread coral bleaching. The phenomenon has now reached the Western Indian Ocean, which has been on coral bleaching alert since the 4th of January this year.
The Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Energy, Mr. Didier Dogley officially launched the Nature Seychelles’ Coral Reef Restoration Training Program last week by symbolically cutting a ribbon on the Amitie beach on Praslin Island. Mr. Dogley, in the presence of Dr Nirmal Shah, the CEO of Nature Seychelles, other Nature Seychelles staff and the media waved the trainees off on their boat as they went for their first dive under the training program.