Visitors to five national marine parks in Seychelles, will, as of 3rd May 2021, be able to purchase their entry tickets on line. This is the latest move in the Seychelles National Parks Authority’s strategy to ensure a more efficient payment system is in place in order to maximize revenue.

 The national parks in question are Curieuse, Port Launay, Baie Ternay, Ste Anne and Ile Coco Marine Parks. All of the five parks are managed by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), which has the responsibility to ensure their upkeep and management as well as oversee research work and conservation projects.

 Visitors are now able to purchase their tickets online, on the SNPA website, before their arrival in Seychelles. The online system also provides information about the parks which can help visitors decide which parks they would prefer to visit.

 The system is straightforward and similar to most online transactions. Upon completion of their purchase, visitors will receive a confirmation email along with a copy of their ticket containing a QR code, which they will have to produce (by print or on their phone) upon entry into any of the five parks.

 The SNPA is setting up the following designated points for this verification to take place in all the parks.

  • Ste Anne Marine Park: SNPA Boat
  • Curieuse Marine Park: Curieuse Island
  • Ille Cocos Marine Park: SNPA Boat
  • Baie Ternay and Port Launay Marine Parks: SNPA Boat

Electronic tickets can also be purchased at the following sites and will also be verified when entering the parks. These would be sold using the Kiosk device, a smart device which will provide SNPA with up-to-date data on ticket sales.

  • Mahé: SNPA Office at Orion Mall
  • Praslin: SNPA Office at Fond Boffay
  • La Digue: At Veuve Reserve

  

 

Currently, visitors are only able to purchase tickets while they are in the marine parks. Boat operators also have the option of purchasing tickets for their clients from the SNPA in advance which they issue to SNPA rangers who collect the tickets and funds at sea.

 Research carried out have confirmed that significant revenue is lost annually with this particular method. Boats are often missed and at times, SNPA rangers face challenges with certain vessels at sea when it comes to making the necessary payments. The new system will flush out such shortcomings and ensure that the revenue generated is collected. 

 Rangers have conservation duties which they have been unable to carry out effectively due to their hours having been consumed by daily patrol and chasing up after vessels for payment.

The online payment system is expected to redress these issues by streamlining the purchase process and freeing up their hours to dedicate to their conservation duties. Furthermore, and extremely relevant to the pandemic era the world is facing, is the omitting of the exchange of cash between visitors and SNPA rangers. The online payment system adds another layer of safety for both SNPA’s visitors and rangers.

 The terms and conditions provide for standardized rules for all parties and also puts the onus on the operators and their clients to ensure their tickets have been purchased and are verified upon entering the parks. Legal action will be taken against any visitor, vessel or boat operator who doesn’t comply with these terms.

 SNPA has, over the years, operated from funds budgeted from the Government to carry out its mandate. Financial autonomy has brought about more flexibility to fund research work and carry out more and diverse conservation projects. Each park will, by the end of 2021, have its own management plan. The idea behind the plans is to protect and conserve the identified values of each park while providing for reasonable opportunities to access and make use of the area for eco-tourism, education, recreation and scientific purposes.

 The online payment system, which is being funded and supported by the GoS-UNDP-GEF PA Finance Project, is another development gearing the SNPA to operate effectively within a financial autonomous framework. Visitor satisfaction and experience is an integral element in this framework. To ensure this, simply put, the SNPA needs to secure all the revenue possible so that it can continue to improve its services and products for its visitors.

On Sunday 31st January, Seychelles will celebrate Protected Area Day.

Seychelles is a protected area champion with one of the highest ratio of its territory under protection. To celebrate this important day, SNPA brings you a campaign highlighting the benefits of the country’s protected areas (PAs). We should all do our part to conserve and support our PAs.

The endemic Coco de Mer, a protected species

 

In 2017, the Seychelles Protected Area (PA) network consisted of 38 officially gazetted areas totaling 55,769 hectares (ha). Seychelles has recently declared 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as protected. This area is the size of Germany. In terms of terrestrial PA coverage, Seychelles has one of the highest ratios in the world, with 47% of its total land reserved for PAs (i.e. 20,900 ha). The country’s PAs include National Parks, Special Reserves, World Heritage Sites, Ramsar sites and Shell Reserves. A protected area is define by IUCN as  “A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”.

SNPA is currently the biggest protected area management agency in terms of its number of PAs and workforce size in Seychelles. Other PA management entities in the country include Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) which Manages Vallee de Maie and Aldabra Atoll; Island Conservation Society (ICS) which manages Aride Special Reserve and Nature Seychelles which manages Cousin Special Reserve.

 

Benefits of protected area

Protected areas protect critical natural areas that provide a range of goods and services, and similarly, protect historical and cultural resources considered to be of national or global importance. The range of benefits provided by protected areas are many.

 

  1. Marine protected areas benefit fisheries

All SNPA marine parks are no take zones, meaning that it is illegal to remove anything from the park. Fishing is not allowed! There are marine parks in other countries that permit fishing. No take zones like the ones in our marine parks, where fishing is not allowed, do bring benefits to the fishing industry. Marine parks create the ‘spill off effect’ in that as the fish population inside the marine park increases, fish will move out into unprotected areas where they can be caught by fishermen. Since marine parks protect breeding grounds of many fish species, it allows them to reproduce. Marine protected areas allow fish to grow to bigger size. Bigger fish produce more eggs. Despite the huge benefits marine protected areas bring to fisheries, some fishermen use this knowledge negatively and come to fish in the marine parks. Surveys conducted along the coast of North and North West Mahe, found the Port Launay and Baie Ternay Marine Parks to contain more fish than the areas outside the two parks. In 2015, the two protected areas contained a fish density 17% higher than that of unprotected areas. Reef and commercial fish both seem to benefit from the protection afforded by protected areas.

 

  1. Protected Areas safeguard Biodiversity

 Everyday up to 150 species become extinct. We are currently living in the sixth mass extinction. Protected areas guard critical habitats for species so that they can thrive in nature, unimpacted by human disturbance. Recent studies have shown that on average the number of species in a protected areas is 10.6% higher than outside, and the populations of those species are 14.5% greater when they live on protected land. In 2015, the three carbonate reefs that lay within marine protected areas in North West Mahe region, were found to have a combined mean coral cover of 55.96 (±4.44) % which is higher than the combined mean of sites outside the protected areas (mean coral cover: 43.08 (±1.95) %). SNPA’s Veuve Reserve on La Digue, is providing protection to the endemic and critically endangered Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone corvina). The mangrove in the Curieuse Marine National is serving as an important nursery for Sickle Fin lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens). In 2015, 180 lemon sharks pups were using this important habitat.

 

 3. Ensure Food and Water Security

Millions of people worldwide depend on the food produced or obtained in and around protected areas. These areas also protect watersheds that ensure a clean water supply. The Morne Seyhellois National Park on Mahe occupies about 20% of Mahe island. This protected area provides most of the country’s population with its drinking water. At least, six main rivers within the national park provide the island with potable water. This large forested area prevents landslide and flooding. The national park also provide animals with fruits such as coco plum, guava, cashew, jackfruit, breadfruit and Santol.

 

  1. Provide Local Economic Success

Local economies stand to benefit from protected areas. Many protected areas are hotspots for ecotourism, bringing new revenue that directly benefits communities. Community members often find employment in the protected area or within an industry supporting tourism. Our most popular protected area, Curieuse Marine National park received over 52,000 paying foreign visitors in 2017. It provides livelihoods for over one hundred boat/tour operators monthly.  The operators bring tourists to the park for diving, snorkeling and other excursions. Here in Seychelles quite a few tourism establishments are built around the beautiful marine parks, which they use in their marketing campaigns.

 

  1. Build Resilience Against Climate Change

Many of our planet’s habitats, including forests, swamps and oceans store excess greenhouse gases like carbon and keep them from our atmosphere, regulating the global climate. When they are wiped out for unsustainable development, our planet’s climate becomes less predictable and extreme, making us more susceptible to the disastrous effects of climate change. Creating and maintaining protected areas is the simplest solution to halting these harmful human-induced activities, and in turn, sequestering carbon to reduce climate change. Marine parks, which are protected, tend to recover faster from coral bleaching events. This is because the habitats are less stressed, they are healthier and can bounce back faster.

 

  1. Provides recreation

 Protected areas are cherished places for recreation and help in physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation.

Visiting a national park in a group or with friends can help to strengthen those social connections and boost relationships. A visit to a national park can be a shared experience of wonder, which allows you to connect to those around you on a deeper level. Many would think that SNPA’s marine parks accommodate foreign tourists only. A visit to Port Launay beach during weekends will show that locals enjoy the marine parks as much as tourists do. Ste Anne is also very busy with Seychellois during weekends; many come for picnics on the beautiful beaches, others in their own boat for a tour. Curieuse Marine Park is also very popular with locals as it provide the perfect setting to enjoy and appreciate island life.

SNPA is maintaining 30km of trails on Mahe Island. This important service is allowing locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy and explore the national park. This help renew their mental and spiritual states. Being at the top of the Copolia Trail, breathing the fresh air, gives one the feeling of being away from it all. A six-hour trek along the Mare-Aux-Cochons trail will burn you enough calorie for a week.  Hiking also encourage team-building and working together, which can also provide a boost to those relationships. Even if you visit national parks alone, this can help you to create connections with other people who have a shared interest with you. Being outside in nature also has important impacts on mental health. Walking is effective in reducing anxiety and depression. Being in nature activates different areas of the brain, which have a calming effect on the mind and which reduces the heart rate and blood pressure. This also reduces symptoms of stress or anger. Walking in nature, and especially pursuits such as hiking, contribute to greater self-confidence and self-esteem, which has a big impact on mental wellbeing.

 

  1. Protected areas create jobs.

SNPA, the biggest agency working in protected area management employs over 80 staffs all of which Seychellois. Throughout the year, the authority takes an average of 10 students annually on work attachment. It also contributes socially to the country by providing employment to Seychellois on various employment schemes, such as URS and my First job schemes. Protected areas also create jobs for people that utilize them as a source of livelihoods, in the case of Seychelles that will include, private tour guides, divers, curio vendors, hoteliers, boat operators etc.

  1. Protected areas are important for tourism.

Did you know that 87.5% of tourists surveyed in 2017 visited a protected area (PA) while in the Country? Clearly protected areas are big tourist attractions and contributes massively to the country’s tourism offerings. On average, our foreign visitors visit 2.4 PAs during their stay in Seychelles. Tourism is the most important pillar of the economy as it contributes to more than 50% of the country’s GDP. The industry employs 30% of the workforce and in 2018; 361,844 visitors (thrice the country population size) visited the tiny island state. Development of this important economic pillar is mainly attributed to the country’s unique biodiversity. Tourism in turn also bring benefits to PAs. In Seychelles tourist’s entrance fees currently finance most PA’s. SNPA’s most popular protected Area, Curieuse MP, received 52,000 paying visitors in 2017.

  1. Education and awareness

Protected areas provide the perfect classroom where students can learn about the environment. Most of SNPA’s protected areas are undisturbed, meaning they are still in their natural state and this provide the opportunity for students to study biodiversity in their natural environment. SNPA takes various groups to the national parks. These include kids from crèche, post-secondary institutions, university and even international students. The students do not only learn about species and ecosystems but they also learn about benefits of the parks and work that is being done to protect such important sites. SNPA also enjoy getting students to learn by doing. Therefore, activities such as tree planting and clean ups are organised for the benefit of all parties.

Providing students with the educational opportunities in return benefit towards protection of the parks as it build on their appreciation for protected areas. In 2020 a group of teacher students visited the Morne Seychellois National Park, learning how they themselves can conduct fieldstrips with their future classes. The session was also one of discovery for the young adults as they got the opportunity to learn about new species, they also discovered the benefits of being out in nature.

 SNPA education and awareness programs aims to educate the public about the environment, the national parks and SNPA’s activities. Normally this one done through various methods such as, presentations, talks, articles, documentaries, social media and events. One of SNPA’s most popular event is its annual Raft Race for charity, which aims to raise awareness on the beautiful Baie Ternay Marine Park and the importance of recycling. In 2019, over 500 people turned up at the Marine Park to participate and support the event.

 

  1. Research

One of SNPA’s mandate is to facilitate and conduct research related to biodiversity and protected areas.  SNPA welcomes research in all its national parks and reserve. There are some long-term monitoring programs taking place in the parks. For 12 years, Global Vision International (GVI) (SNPA’s main Research partner) has been monitoring coral reefs in the Port Launay and Baie Ternay Marine Parks. This is one of the oldest coral reef monitoring program in the country. GVI has also been monitoring population of nesting sea turtles on Curieuse for the past 10 years. The monitoring program has shown that Curieuse is an important sea turtle rookery in the inner islands. Ongoing research programs in the national parks include those on giant tortoises, sea turtles, mangrove, lemon sharks, coco-de-mer, coral reef, beach profiling. There are also annual marine research expeditions such as those from Earth Watch Institute.

Since protected areas serve as living laboratories, SNPA receives many requests from international scientists who wants to conduct various studies/researches in the national parks. There have been researches on bees, invasive species, sea urchins, corals, sharks and mangrove to names a few field of interests. Protected areas allows scientists to study impacts of phenomenon such as coral bleaching events and provide insights to human-natural systems dynamics.

Besides providing research opportunities for scientists, protected areas also benefit from research as this in turn normally demonstrate the benefits of PA’s to biodiversity. Research provide information to park managers on status of the PA’s which is vital for park management.

 

 

PROTECTED AREA DAY 2021

On Sunday 31st January, Seychelles will celebrate Protected Area Day.

Seychelles is a protected area champion with one of the highest ratio of its territory under protection. To celebrate this important day, SNPA brings you a campaign highlighting the benefits of the country’s protected areas (PAs). We should all do our part to conserve and support our PAs.

The endemic Coco de Mer, aprotected species

 

In 2017, the Seychelles Protected Area (PA) network consisted of 38 officially gazetted areas totaling 55,769 hectares (ha). Seychelles has recently declared 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as protected. This area is the size of Germany. In terms of terrestrial PA coverage, Seychelles has one of the highest ratios in the world, with 47% of its total land reserved for PAs (i.e. 20,900 ha). The country’s PAs include National Parks, Special Reserves, World Heritage Sites, Ramsar sites and Shell Reserves. A protected area is define by IUCN as  “A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values”.

SNPA is currently the biggest protected area management agency in terms of its number of PAs and workforce size in Seychelles. Other PA management entities in the country include Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) which Manages Vallee de Maie and Aldabra Atoll; Island Conservation Society (ICS) which manages Aride Special Reserve and Nature Seychelles which manages Cousin Special Reserve.

 

Benefits of protected area

Protected areas protect critical natural areas that provide a range of goods and services, and similarly, protect historical and cultural resources considered to be of national or global importance. The range of benefits provided by protected areas are many.

 

  1. Marine protected areas benefit fisheries

All SNPA marine parks are no take zones, meaning that it is illegal to remove anything from the park. Fishing is not allowed! There are marine parks in other countries that permit fishing. No take zones like the ones in our marine parks, where fishing is not allowed, do bring benefits to the fishing industry. Marine parks create the ‘spill off effect’ in that as the fish population inside the marine park increases, fish will move out into unprotected areas where they can be caught by fishermen. Since marine parks protect breeding grounds of many fish species, it allows them to reproduce. Marine protected areas allow fish to grow to bigger size. Bigger fish produce more eggs. Despite the huge benefits marine protected areas bring to fisheries, some fishermen use this knowledge negatively and come to fish in the marine parks. Surveys conducted along the coast of North and North West Mahe, found the Port Launay and Baie Ternay Marine Parks to contain more fish than the areas outside the two parks. In 2015, the two protected areas contained a fish density 17% higher than that of unprotected areas. Reef and commercial fish both seem to benefit from the protection afforded by protected areas.

 

 

  1. Protected Areas safeguard Biodiversity

 

Everyday up to 150 species become extinct. We are currently living in the sixth mass extinction. Protected areas guard critical habitats for species so that they can thrive in nature, unimpacted by human disturbance. Recent studies have shown that on average the number of species in a protected areas is 10.6% higher than outside, and the populations of those species are 14.5% greater when they live on protected land. In 2015, the three carbonate reefs that lay within marine protected areas in North West Mahe region, were found to have a combined mean coral cover of 55.96 (±4.44) % which is higher than the combined mean of sites outside the protected areas (mean coral cover: 43.08 (±1.95) %). SNPA’s Veuve Reserve on La Digue, is providing protection to the endemic and critically endangered Seychelles Black Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone corvina). The mangrove in the Curieuse Marine National is serving as an important nursery for Sickle Fin lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens). In 2015, 180 lemon sharks pups were using this important habitat.

 

 

 

  1. Ensure Food and Water Security

Millions of people worldwide depend on the food produced or obtained in and around protected areas. These areas also protect watersheds that ensure a clean water supply. The Morne Seyhellois National Park on Mahe occupies about 20% of Mahe island. This protected area provides most of the country’s population with its drinking water. At least, six main rivers within the national park provide the island with potable water. This large forested area prevents landslide and flooding. The national park also provide animals with fruits such as coco plum, guava, cashew, jackfruit, breadfruit and Santol.

 

  1. Provide Local Economic Success

Local economies stand to benefit from protected areas. Many protected areas are hotspots for ecotourism, bringing new revenue that directly benefits communities. Community members often find employment in the protected area or within an industry supporting tourism. Our most popular protected area, Curieuse Marine National park received over 52,000 paying foreign visitors in 2017. It provides livelihoods for over one hundred boat/tour operators monthly.  The operators bring tourists to the park for diving, snorkeling and other excursions. Here in Seychelles quite a few tourism establishments are built around the beautiful marine parks, which they use in their marketing campaigns.

 

  1. Build Resilience Against Climate Change

Many of our planet’s habitats, including forests, swamps and oceans store excess greenhouse gases like carbon and keep them from our atmosphere, regulating the global climate. When they are wiped out for unsustainable development, our planet’s climate becomes less predictable and extreme, making us more susceptible to the disastrous effects of climate change. Creating and maintaining protected areas is the simplest solution to halting these harmful human-induced activities, and in turn, sequestering carbon to reduce climate change. Marine parks, which are protected, tend to recover faster from coral bleaching events. This is because the habitats are less stressed, they are healthier and can bounce back faster.

 

  1. Provides recreation

 

Protected areas are cherished places for recreation and help in physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation.

Visiting a national park in a group or with friends can help to strengthen those social connections and boost relationships. A visit to a national park can be a shared experience of wonder, which allows you to connect to those around you on a deeper level. Many would think that SNPA’s marine parks accommodate foreign tourists only. A visit to Port Launay beach during weekends will show that locals enjoy the marine parks as much as tourists do. Ste Anne is also very busy with Seychellois during weekends; many come for picnics on the beautiful beaches, others in their own boat for a tour. Curieuse Marine Park is also very popular with locals as it provide the perfect setting to enjoy and appreciate island life.

SNPA is maintaining 30km of trails on Mahe Island. This important service is allowing locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy and explore the national park. This help renew their mental and spiritual states. Being at the top of the Copolia Trail, breathing the fresh air, gives one the feeling of being away from it all. A six-hour trek along the Mare-Aux-Cochons trail will burn you enough calorie for a week.  Hiking also encourage team-building and working together, which can also provide a boost to those relationships. Even if you visit national parks alone, this can help you to create connections with other people who have a shared interest with you. Being outside in nature also has important impacts on mental health. Walking is effective in reducing anxiety and depression. Being in nature activates different areas of the brain, which have a calming effect on the mind and which reduces the heart rate and blood pressure. This also reduces symptoms of stress or anger. Walking in nature, and especially pursuits such as hiking, contribute to greater self-confidence and self-esteem, which has a big impact on mental wellbeing.

 

  1. Protected areas create jobs.

SNPA, the biggest agency working in protected area management employs over 80 staffs all of which Seychellois. Throughout the year, the authority takes an average of 10 students annually on work attachment. It also contributes socially to the country by providing employment to Seychellois on various employment schemes, such as URS and my First job schemes. Protected areas also create jobs for people that utilize them as a source of livelihoods, in the case of Seychelles that will include, private tour guides, divers, curio vendors, hoteliers, boat operators etc.

  1. Protected areas are important for tourism.

Did you know that 87.5% of tourists surveyed in 2017 visited a protected area (PA) while in the Country? Clearly protected areas are big tourist attractions and contributes massively to the country’s tourism offerings. On average, our foreign visitors visit 2.4 PAs during their stay in Seychelles. Tourism is the most important pillar of the economy as it contributes to more than 50% of the country’s GDP. The industry employs 30% of the workforce and in 2018; 361,844 visitors (thrice the country population size) visited the tiny island state. Development of this important economic pillar is mainly attributed to the country’s unique biodiversity. Tourism in turn also bring benefits to PAs. In Seychelles tourist’s entrance fees currently finance most PA’s. SNPA’s most popular protected Area, Curieuse MP, received 52,000 paying visitors in 2017.

 

 

  1. Education and awareness

Protected areas provide the perfect classroom where students can learn about the environment. Most of SNPA’s protected areas are undisturbed, meaning they are still in their natural state and this provide the opportunity for students to study biodiversity in their natural environment. SNPA takes various groups to the national parks. These include kids from crèche, post-secondary institutions, university and even international students. The students do not only learn about species and ecosystems but they also learn about benefits of the parks and work that is being done to protect such important sites. SNPA also enjoy getting students to learn by doing. Therefore, activities such as tree planting and clean ups are organised for the benefit of all parties.

Providing students with the educational opportunities in return benefit towards protection of the parks as it build on their appreciation for protected areas. In 2020 a group of teacher students visited the Morne Seychellois National Park, learning how they themselves can conduct fieldstrips with their future classes. The session was also one of discovery for the young adults as they got the opportunity to learn about new species, they also discovered the benefits of being out in nature.

 

SNPA education and awareness programs aims to educate the public about the environment, the national parks and SNPA’s activities. Normally this one done through various methods such as, presentations, talks, articles, documentaries, social media and events. One of SNPA’s most popular event is its annual Raft Race for charity, which aims to raise awareness on the beautiful Baie Ternay Marine Park and the importance of recycling. In 2019, over 500 people turned up at the Marine Park to participate and support the event.

 

  1. Research

One of SNPA’s mandate is to facilitate and conduct research related to biodiversity and protected areas.  SNPA welcomes research in all its national parks and reserve. There are some long-term monitoring programs taking place in the parks. For 12 years, Global Vision International (GVI) (SNPA’s main Research partner) has been monitoring coral reefs in the Port Launay and Baie Ternay Marine Parks. This is one of the oldest coral reef monitoring program in the country. GVI has also been monitoring population of nesting sea turtles on Curieuse for the past 10 years. The monitoring program has shown that Curieuse is an important sea turtle rookery in the inner islands. Ongoing research programs in the national parks include those on giant tortoises, sea turtles, mangrove, lemon sharks, coco-de-mer, coral reef, beach profiling. There are also annual marine research expeditions such as those from Earth Watch Institute.

Since protected areas serve as living laboratories, SNPA receives many requests from international scientists who wants to conduct various studies/researches in the national parks. There have been researches on bees, invasive species, sea urchins, corals, sharks and mangrove to names a few field of interests. Protected areas allows scientists to study impacts of phenomenon such as coral bleaching events and provide insights to human-natural systems dynamics.

Besides providing research opportunities for scientists, protected areas also benefit from research as this in turn normally demonstrate the benefits of PA’s to biodiversity. Research provide information to park managers on status of the PA’s which is vital for park management.

 

 

Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment Flavien Joubert conducted visits to five agencies under his ministry yesterday afternoon, as part of the familiarisation visit programme for President Wavel Ramkalawan’s newly appointed Cabinet.

The minister, who has over recent weeks conducted a series of similar visits, commenced at the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) followed by the National Biosecurity Agency (NBA), two entities responsible for the agricultural sector that have a crucial role in ensuring Seychelles meets food security needs, and who are mandated to oversee local production, and importation respectively.

Chief executive of SAA, Linetta Estico, guided Minister Joubert around the premises, where he interacted with staff of various departments, enquiring of their programmes and policies, and the obstacles the entity is faced with.

As the entity mandated to manage agricultural land, Minister Joubert expressed his own concerns to the livestock department as to the shortage of land for livestock rearing, and further asserting the need to improve in certain aspects of operation including the procurement of stock for famers, such as fertilisers and pesticides.

Minister Joubert also expressed his intentions to once again set the ball rolling on a national dialogue about abattoir facilities and standards and livestock rearing. According to statistics recorded by the agency, livestock production has increased over the past couple of years, with a 37 percent increase in poultry production and 21 percent increase in pork production.

 

The second stop, the NBA, was an opportunity for Minister Joubert to be updated about the progress made on the Dog Control and Protection Act, and the programmes geared towards animal and crop health.

It was revealed by chief executive Marc Naiken that human resource is the toughest hurdle for the entity, as well as lack of equipment in some departments. Minister Joubert also addressed the matter of livestock rearing with the agency, revealing that he is pushing for the abattoir to be relocated and for the facility to meet and implement international standards for greater business opportunities, as currently local farmers lose out to imported meat products.

Employees of the agency and who are involved with border control whether at the airport or port, also conveyed their concerns about their safety.

The second part of Minister Joubert’s visits were to agencies under the environment portfolio, namely the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), the Climate Change Division and the Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA), where he again toured the premises and interacted with employees.

“I think the atmosphere in these organisations is good, there are lots of people who are motivated to work. And at some of these agencies, at NBA and the Climate Change Division, there are many qualified youths who are ready to launch into the large tasks, and I think with this type of people and minds in the organisation, we can work together to deliver on the target set by government,” the minister said.

“I see my role as a directing role, whereby I will bring forth to these organisations the national objectives government want to realise for the country, and work with them so their departments deliver, without me as minister interfering in their work to create confusion or offset anyone in their work,” Minister Joubert said upon concluding the visits.

Based on yesterday’s interactions, Minister Joubert asserted the functions of boards for entities directed by boards, stating that boards should fulfil their functions and work closely with employees so as to direct the organisation to perform and achieve results.

Furthermore, Minister Joubert, following in the footsteps of President Ramkalawan, committed to initiating changes within the organisations to foster an open-door approach with employees, not only for employee welfare, but most importantly, for effective, efficient and prompt service delivery.

Minister Joubert also vowed to implement practices to shorten internal processes, such as payment processes for instance, when procuring stock, emphasising the customer service and customer satisfaction component of public service.

Minister Joubert’s familiarisation visit programme is scheduled to resume on Monday where he will visit the Seychelles Meteorological Agency (SMA), among other facilities.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of Minister Joubert’s visits yesterday.

 

Laura Pillay

Photos: Joena Meme

Courtesy: Seychelles Nation

 

In April this year, Curieuse Island closed its doors to visitors on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, upgrade work which had already started and was scheduled to be conducted over several months, was greatly delayed.

However, due to high demand from stakeholders from the tourism industry, the island welcomed back visitors as of yesterday, although upgrade work is not completed. Visitors will be allowed to visit and interact with tortoises at Baie Laraie and do half the trail of the island only. As work progresses and more facilities become available, usual activities will eventually resume.

This was announced last Friday at an official ceremony to re-open the island.

The ceremony was attended by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) board members, chief executive of SNPA, Selby Remy, members of the National Assembly from Praslin and several other stakeholders.

 

The Distinguished invitees

 

Addressing the invitees, CEO Remy detailed the upgrade work and new facilities as well as shared SNPA’s constraints in completing this project.

“The upgrade work is taking place in two phases. The first phase, which is almost completed, includes new, bigger, improved barbeque area facilities at both Baie Laraie and Anse St José. Toilet facilities have also been improved and the 433-metre boardwalk, which is the longest in Seychelles, has also been upgraded. The next phase will include the construction of a visitor centre, souvenir shop and café at Baie Laraie as well as the installation of photovoltaic panels on the barbecue area buildings (a donation of the Chinese government).”

Mr Remy shared the reason for the delay in completing the project which was mainly transportation of construction materials to the island. This is due to the terrain of the island which makes it difficult for cargo boats to come close to shore.

The movement restriction imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic also contributed greatly and the ease of accessing construction materials adapted to the specific conditions of island buildings was another issue.

In the end, the project proved to be much more difficult than planned and after an internal post mortem, SNPA will be better equipped to plan similar future projects.

To note that strictly Praslinois contractors were carrying out the upgrade work.

On his part, the chairperson of the SNPA board, Jude Bijoux, thanked all partners for their hard work towards the upgrade work.

He particularly commended the former chairperson of the SNPA board, Helena Sims and Curieuse island manager Anto Suzette. Mr Suzette, considered a native of the island who grew up on Curieuse, has been overseeing the upgrade work.

“We have greater vision for Curieuse Island and this upgrade work is only the beginning. The island has much potential and we will be tapping into these potentials,” Mr Bijoux said.

He described Curieuse as a jewel in the SNPA crown which they wish to polish.

“As part of the SNPA network, we wish to use it as a gold mine to help finance and improve the standards of other SNPA sites around the country,” Mr Bijoux said.

He also thanked the government and the Protected Area Finance Project (GOS-UNDP-GEF) for the financial assistance.

Among the new facilities is also an electronic ticketing system whereby visitors will have the possibility to purchase their tickets for entry on the island online. Debit/credit card transactions will also be available.

The new facilities will now bear higher maintenance costs hence the reason for the recently increased landing fee for tourists.

Boat operators will now be required to have a mutual contract agreement with SNPA which will govern the use of island facilities. This will be formally introduced to these operators in a training session scheduled to be held on November 17 jointly with the Ministry of Health.

 

  

The new facilities: Barbeque area and boardwalk

It was the members of National Assembly for Praslin island, Churchill Gill (Baie Ste Anne) and Wavel Woodcock (Grand Anse) accompanied by island manager Anto Suzette who unveiled the inaugural plaque during the ceremony. This was followed by a tour of the upgrade work, including a walk along the almost completed boardwalk which runs through the island’s mangrove forest. The visitors could enjoy and learn more about six of Seychelles’ endemic mangroves along the walk.

The upgrade work which has amounted to over R4 million has been going on for over a year and will continue.

SNPA has other plans to renovate the Doctor’s House at Anse St José, include a cultural, artisanal village next to the Doctor’s House, improve staff housing facilities on the island and turn Curieuse in a self-sufficient island energy wise.

The accompanying photos show some highlights of the ceremony and some of the upgrade work done.

 

Text: Nadia Bedier

Photos: Romano Laurence

Courtesy: Seychelles Nation

The Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) is very happy with compliments received from the public about its recently maintained nature trails. Seychellois are very pleased with the state of Morne Blanc trail, which the authority took three weeks to complete. So far, the National parks unit within SNPA, which is responsible for the management of official nature trails in the country, have completed maintenance on the Copolia, Morne Blanc and the Anse Major trails. They are currently working on the most challenging one, which is the Mare aux Cochons trail.

Building wooden bridges

The nature trail network in the Morne Seychellois National Park covers nearly 30 km. Over the past couple of years, the trails have been in a poor state of maintenance mainly due to a limited workforce and budgetary constraints. In view of the fact that tourism was and possibly will remain, the main pillar of the Seychelles’ economy, the National Park Unit of the SNPA, aims to use this period of low tourist visitation to maintain the trails.

Through an enhanced motivation of the present workforce and the assistance of a couple of Unemployment Relief Scheme (URS) candidates and soldiers, the SNPA has lately been able to do some major maintenance work of some of its trails.

“Our work started in August, where we conducted a trail assessment on the different trails that we received complaints on. The objective was to determine the highest priority trail, which required immediate attention. After our assessment we found out that, we have lots of fallen trees and erosion on most of the trails. People were getting difficulty to access the path and they were making lots of diversions and that is not encouraged in our National Parks.” Explained Mr Ronny Gabriel, heading the National Park Unit team that is undertaking this major trail maintenance project.

 After their initial assessment, the team started working on the Anse Major Trail, as they wanted it to be ready for the return of tourists to the island. The trail is normally highly frequented by tourists. On that trail, they noticed encroachment by Chrysobalanus icaco (Prin de frans). They had some difficulty due to the construction work by PUC. Vandalism was also noticed on that trail.

 The team hard at work at Mare Auc Cochons

 Morne Blanc trail was identified as top priority during the assessment. There were many fallen trees and erosion along the path. During their 3 weeks spent there, the team made changes to the path, to make it safer and easier to access. They did this by making diversion where there were large amount of erosion and fallen trees that were too difficult to remove. The diversions were marked with yellow markers to indicate direction of the path. The team planted trees such as palms and pandanus (vakwa) on open ground to prevent invasive plants from taking over.

 Currently the team is working on the Mare Aux Cochons trail network. Their biggest challenge since it is longer and contain not just one but three paths. Since people were getting lost along those paths, the team has temporarily closed Cap Vert,e so that they can concentrate on the main path, which is Mont D’or. During their assessment the team noticed that the two bridges needed urgent repairs, as nearly all the planks were rotten and not safe for users. The path from the marsh to Mont D’or junction also require major attention since the trail has been encroached by the invasive, Clidemia and Syzyguim (zanboza). Since there were a lot of fallen trees all along the trail and the path is blocked, people have made many diversions in order to access the path. Erosion has also affected the steps built in the past and these needs replacing.

“At SNPA we are very happy with progress we have made so far on the trails. I take this opportunity to invite interested individuals who want to volunteer their time and energy towards the work that we are doing to kindly contact Mr Eric Sophola on 4224115. We might not be able to maintain all the trails now but we will do our best to make sure that the ones we are working on are up to standard.” Explained Mr Eric Sophola Head of National Parks Unit at SNPA.

 

 

 

 

It was the Minister for Environment Energy and Climate Change Mr Wallace Cosgrow and Chairperson of SNPA board, Dr Bijoux who officially opened the Copolia Trail. It all started at the entrance of the trail, at Sans Soucis, where the CEO of SNPA made his opening remarks, highlighting the new features of the trail.

Minister Wallace Cosgrow crossing the new boardwalk at the beginning of the trail

CEO also thanked the GoS-GEF-UNDP Protected Area Finance Project for financing this redevelopment. SNPA have turned this trail into one of the best in the country. The Minister talked about the impact of COVID 19 on SNPA as an organisation that is highly dependent on tourism. He explained the public-private partnership that exist in this area.  He also wished all SNPA staff and Rangers in the country a happy World Ranger Day, an IUCN sanctioned event that is celebrated on 31st July each year. The ex-director for Forestry and National Park, Mr Jacqueline was also rewarded for his years of service at the Authority. After group photo, the Minister, Chairperson, PS for Environment, CEO, tour guides and invitees went on a guided tour of the trail. They saw snakes, stick insects, the country's smallest frog and the endemic pitcher plant. All were pleased with the new developments made along the trail ( information boards, signage, bench etc..). It all ended at the 800 m summit with a fantastic view of the Ste Anne Marine Park and Mahe East Coast.

 

 Panoramic board at the end of trail

 

 

Seychelles, home to many, is renowned for its pristine beaches and lush forests. With a so-called paradise reputation, an omen is just around the corner when it gets to the rate of pollution. 

Rubbish left at Anse Major in the Morne Seychellois National Park

Environmental pollution is increasing with each passing year, as the same rubbish that harms the aquatic life, mars the terrestrial landscape. Now, more than ever, our planet needs our help with this systemic problem. It is known that even the slightest form of pollution can pose huge threats to an infinite list of living organisms.

SNPA’s mission is to effectively protect and manage designated marine and terrestrial protected areas, including forested areas for future generations with the intention to use them for conservation, recreation, research and educational purposes. As observed recently, there has been a tremendous increase in litter pollution throughout the Morne Seychellois National Park. Why do we human behave in such a way? Especially in places where wildlife are meant to thrive in its most natural state with minimal human disturbance. As an authority, we strongly believe that these designated areas are not your personal dumping sites or “do as you please” places. They deserve the respect that is lawfully given to them.

We, as a proud nation need to disown statements such as “if I don’t litter, then those who are paid to clean won’t have anything to do”.  This was strongly felt during the covid-19 crisis when less SNPA officials were circulating on the trails. The amount of rubbish was unbelievable! These must mostly have been from Seychellois or Seychelles residents since tourism numbers were low. SNPA is urging all users of the National Parks to be more sensible when disposing trash. I quote from the constitution “The State recognizes the right of every person to live in and enjoy a clean, healthy and ecologically balanced environment”. After all, Seychelles is OUR home and OUR responsibility. 

We keep on living each day like as if we have a second earth, a second planet to call home. Little do we know, without Mother Earth, we are nonexistent! Let us return the favor, preserve and protect her. By saving nature, you are saving your own life too. Let us make the impossible possible!