Seychelles Wetlands Evaluation and Workshop

Kevin Erwin accompanied Ramsar Convention Secretary General Mr Anada TiĆ©ga and the Senior Regional Advisor for Africa Mr Abou Bamba, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. James Michel, during a week-long celebration of World Wetlands Day in March 2010. As a means of promoting measures to further encourage the wise use of wetlands Kevin evaluated coastal lagoons, mangrove swamps, beaches, streams and coral reefs. These wetland habitats make up a significant portion of the Seychelles Islands of which more than 50% is preserved for conservation purposes. The largest portion of the country’s earnings is from the tourism industry which is centered on their wetlands. Seychelles’ important tourism industry relies on the condition of these wetlands together with their beautiful weather to attract tourists to the islands.

The overall condition of the Seychelles wetlands is very good; however, there is the future risk of degradation due to water quality impacts not the direct destruction of wetland habitat. This observation was one of the main messages that Kevin delivered in his presentation of a workshop entitled Wetlands and Climate Change: Restoration, Mitigation and Management. The other significant recommendations made included: performing a comprehensive inventory of all native habitats, including all wetlands; meeting with local and national stakeholders to discuss the findings of the rapid assessment and to request for further information if required; identifying degraded wetland systems and evaluating their potential for restoration; development of a wetland management plan; conducting a survey of all point source storm water discharges into all wetlands including streams and coastal lagoons; developing and implementing a water quality monitoring plan and conducting a hydrographic analysis of those beaches currently experiencing the effects of climate change induced erosion resulting from a possible shift in Antarctic currents.