Press Release: Launching of project to save reefs from climate change

coralsToday, 26 October 2010, Nature Seychelles is launching a pilot project to restore corals in Seychelles. The three-year project, called Reef Rescuers - Restoring Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for USD 513,825.00

Coral reefs in the Indian Ocean are dying from the worst bleaching effect in more than a decade. The bleaching, triggered by a large pool of warm water which swept into the Indian Ocean in May this year, has caused corals from Indonesia to the Seychelles to whiten and die. The Seychelles was already very badly hit by the 1998 bleaching.

Now, in an exciting move Nature Seychelles is launching a pilot project to restore corals in Seychelles. The three-year project, called Reef Rescuers- Restoring Coral Reefs in the Face of Climate Change is supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for USD 513,825.00.

Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive says, “Coral reefs are extremely important for Seychelles-they provide us with food, coastal protection, the sources of our beautiful beaches, revenue and employment in the fishing and the diving sectors, and so much more. Dead and dying reefs are calamitous for the state of our nation”

The Project will involve other organizations in Seychelles as well as the region including the Mauritius Oceanographic Institute and the Institute of Marine Sciences based in Zanzibar who will also provide counterpart support.  The project supports USAID’s strategic global commitments to partner with governments, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders to address the impacts of climate change.  

Shah says, “Over the past years people just kept on talking about coral bleaching –scientists seemed only interested in studying the bleaching and publishing papers. We decided to do something about it and use our skills and experience in restoring ecosystems on land and in saving rare birds and do the same under the sea.”

The project will grow corals of a variety of species and then plant them on selected sites. Whilst growing they will be protected from predators and other disturbances. The pilot project will bring in participants from Seychelles and several countries of the region to learn the techniques and to undertake similar activities throughout the Seychelles and Western Indian Ocean region.

The Project will be launched today, Tuesday 26th October at 1400 hours by US Ambassador Mary Jo Wills,  Minister Peter Sinon and Nature Seychelles Chief Executive Dr. Nirmal Shah at the Nature Seychelles headquarters at Roche Caiman.

Nature Seychelles thanks the US Ambassador, Mary Jo Wills and her staff for their assistance and USAID for supporting the project.

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