In a bid to kick-start a campaign to control invasive creepers the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) has launched a series of training for prospective clearing contractors.

58 contractors in total will be attending the training sessions which are being held at the Forestry station at Sans Soucis.

According to the training facilitator, Damien Doudee, the contractors will be following both theoretical and practical sessions with the focus of teaching them effective methods of eradicating invasive creepers, known locally as lalyann anvaisan.

The first batch of contractors hailing from different districts in the central region received their training on Tuesday. Another group from the north region attended the training on Wednesday, those in the east attended yesterday while a fourth group from the south-west region will be undertaking their training today.

“Basically we have to teach the contractors how to attack the creepers at their roots because that is their lifeline; most people tend to just cut the leaves without paying attention to the roots,” Mr Doudee elaborated.

Seychelles marine parks

It has been a busy school holiday for Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA). The Authority has managed to kick-start its holiday snorkeling program, teaching children an important skill which will surely benefit marine conservation in the country. Beginning of September saw a continuation to “The Explorer for a Day” programme. This time around 25 kids aged between 5 and 7 years from Kiddie club joined the programme, to explore the Baie Ternay Marine Park and Morne Seychellois National Park.

The Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) is working on a host of projects to improve facilities on the island of Curieuse, which is also a marine national park.

The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, recently visited the island to have an appreciation of work being done.

The SNPA is actively working to improve facilities at the various marine and terrestrial national parks, to have the protected areas offering better products to enhance the experience of visitors, especially tourists. The improvement projects are also expected to allow SNPA to generate more income.

The Seychelles National Parks Authority has taken a unique approach towards marine conservation through a snorkelling programme which ended last Friday at Beau Vallon.

A group of 30 children have received their certificates after successfully completing a five-day snorkelling class organised by the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) to not only give them the skills to snorkel, but also show them what lies beneath the waves.

“We decided that if the children can see and enjoy the beauty of the sea, then they will understand why it is important to protect the ocean and the creatures that live in it,” said SNPA programme coordinator Isabelle Ravinia.

She added: “Snorkelling is also an enjoyable activity and can be a very handy skill to have and so we are glad to have also taught this group of children just that.”

After years of focusing on conservation and management of national parks, the Seychelles National Parks Authority wants to see more park visits by tourists and residents.

“With all that is happening locally in the tourism industry and recreation, there is a need for us to market our natural assets and to diversify our products,” said Flavien Joubert, the chief executive of the authority.

Joubert said there is a lot of emphasis on the standard, price, quality and service, together with surveys that are done to get visitors’ feedback and now the authority has to play its part.

“The authority is creating more opportunities and relooking at the different types of leisure activities for visitors,” said the chief executive.

He added that “We are also looking at emerging small enterprises, which depend on parks, be it terrestrial or marine, and the need to maximise the benefits that these small businesses can reap from the reserves.” 

The Seychelles National Parks Authority(SNPA) held a training and strategic workshop this week in Curieuse Marine Park, from 16th  to 20th August,  to develop visionary goals and objectives for the parks and a bold plan of action to build staff leadership in moving towards those goals. The workshop, which was held under the regional SAM (Strategic Adaptive Management) program included representatives from SNPA and three other conservation agencies: Global Vision International (GVI), Island Conservation Society (ICS), and Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) and also representative of the Ministry responsible for Environment.

A stepping stone to a career within the Blue economy

In 2004 Global Vision International (GVI) began its marine conservation expedition at Cap Ternay. This project, which is run in collaboration with the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), was followed in 2009 by the establishment of a second research base on Curieuse Island and both projects now include an impressive portfolio of research subjects.

The GVI projects are entirely funded by international volunteers, who visit Seychelles to gain hands on experience in the field. This form of sustainable financing enables GVI to assist SNPA with data collection both above and below the water.

An important part of all GVI projects worldwide, is an investment in local capacity building. This is exemplified by the National Scholarship Programme, which provides opportunities for young nationals of host countries to join GVI projects free of charge. In Seychelles, the programme has been running since 2006 and over the last ten years dozens of participants have successfully completed placements on the GVI projects, enhancing their knowledge and career opportunities in the process.

Another multi-sectoral meeting was held last week at the Ex-National Assembly Hall, National House and chaired by the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.

This meeting is held with private sector partners from the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA) as well as the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the aim of discussing the challenges affecting the tourism industry and finding solutions to alleviate these.

The main items on the agenda were the situational analysis of crime involving visitors, noise pollution, stray dogs, some issues on Praslin and mooring of yachts.

The meeting kicked off with a presentation made by the Seychelles National Parks Authority. They are proposing that tourists staying at the hotels that are either inside or border the SNPA managed protected areas and using the PA everyday should pay an entrance fee like all other visiting tourists. This proposal is to double its current budget allocation, in order to achieve its conservation management objectives.