As mentioned in our last blog we recently held a couple of informal (yet informative) Marine Awareness talks for yacht charter companies and dive operators here in Seychelles. The aim of these sessions was to get people from marine tourist related industries together to learn, discuss and support ways we can all help protect the marine environment, and our livelihoods. The talk gave an overview of the ecological importance of our oceans and also highlighted some fascinating facts about various creatures that shows how incredible yet vulnerable these creatures are. These sessions were excellent opportunities to get people who are marine based and passionate about the oceans together to bounce ideas around on ways we can work together towards a healthier marine environment.
Following the talk everyone voiced their thoughts on what particular threats facing our marine environment need to be tackled and the best ways that this can be done. Ideas for helping protect the coral included improved dive and snorkel briefings that have an emphasis on “don’t touch”, not throwing litter (especially cigarette butts) into the sea, fishing sustainably and watching marine life respectfully and without harassing the creatures whether on the surface or submerged.
The marine topic that everyone was very keen to improve was the affects of anchor damage especially in certain popular snorkeling areas, which over the years have become decimated. The effects of people pressure and anchors being dropped on the coral not only destroys the very thing that people want to see but it results in a barren wasteland rather than a habitat for an array of wonderful marine life. Mooring buoys were seen as the solution. There is no doubting that having more moorings in place would help but it is also essential that if there is no buoy available that anchors are dropped on sand, even if this means the snorkelers have a slightly longer swim. As long as people understand the reason why, they will appreciate that it is necessary.
Moving forward from these talks, discussions have started between various bodies about the potential for more moorings and also educational sessions with yacht charter crews and dive staff. It is still hoped that working together will benefit the health of our marine life and therefore the enjoyment of everyone lucky enough to visit. It is important that those working in the marine tourism sector are at the forefront of this and act as the caretakers of our oceans. We greatly appreciate those companies who came along and joined in this event. The hope now is we move forward and build on what we have started and work together for a healthier marine environment.
“I really learnt a lot from the talk and thanks much appreciated.” Lynn Gower, Seychelles Yacht Charter.
“Many thanks Abbie, It was good to have the talk today”. Big Blue Divers