Winding back the clock to one of our first Cosmoledo and Astove films that goes back to 2001’s first few trips and then fast forward to a trip in 2013 where Devan van der Merwe and I get to fish together. It’s been a long journey from the early days of grinding out season after season out there on board motherships to finally have the Cosmoledo Atoll Eco Camp built.
Today we celebrate as 19 years later we are very happy to announce that on March 26th the President of the Seychelles, Danny Faure, officially signed the bill demarcating 30% of the territorial waters of the Seychelles legally binding Marine Protected Areas as part of the large-scale Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan. A first-of-its-kind initiative exchanging national debt relief in exchange for ocean conservation policy co-designed by the Nature Conservancy, Seychelles Government and the World Bank. The Alphonse Group, Desroches, Farquhar, Poivre, Cosmoledo and Astove are all included in the gazette, culminating a 5 year project lead by the UNDP-GEF with Island Conservation Society, Blue Safari and Alphonse Fishing Company as key partners amongst others, specifically focused on protecting the unique and pristine tropical marine ecosystems of these remote atolls. The policy designates the offshore waters up to 1km from the outer coral reefs protected as ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ which seeks to conserve the exceptional biodiversity and natural value of these marine areas whilst ensuring the enjoyment of sustainable ecosystem services into the future. We are blessed to have the Seychelles Outer Islands in a prestige state that has changed very little since the early days and now it’s up to us humans to protect it.
Film by: RGB & Alpha, Richard Morton, Jason Van Niekerk and Alphonse Fishing Company. Recut: Keith Rose-Innes. Additional footage: Stu Webb