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#OceanAction19023
Protect 30% of Seychelles marine and coastal waters more than 400,000 square kilometers of improved protection and ocean management.
by Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (Government)
In 2010, the Government of Seychelles made a commitment to protect 30% of its 1.37 million square kilometer Exclusive Economic Zone and Territorial Sea in marine protected areas (MPAs) more than 400,000 square kilometers. The declaration of expanding marine protection from the existing 0.04% to 30% was in part due to negotiations for a debt-for-climate-adaptation swap (see Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust SeyCCAT) and concerns about sustainable management of the marine resources in Seychelles. Identifying the new marine protected areas was initiated in 2011 by a Government of Seychelles UNDP GEF project to analyse existing marine protected areas and develop multiple scenarios for expansion using scientific experts, local knowledge, and stakeholder consultations. The GOS-UNDP-GEF project ran until 2015 and collected and analysed spatial data from more than 100 biodiversity features, 15 socio-economic layers and additional expert information that identify regionally important areas (e.g., BirdLife Important Bird Areas and WIOMER). Six scenarios were developed and Marxan was used to identify the preferred scenario for expanding MPAs with a target representation of 30% (10-60%) for marine species and habitats, by area.

In 2013, discussions on marine protection in Seychelles turned to developing a multi-objective marine spatial plan to support the expansion of the MPAs and also site new economic development, address spatial conflicts, advance the Blue Economy and address climate change adaptation. The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Initiative was started in 2014 and will be completed in 2020. The Seychelles MSP is a Government-led process, with planning and facilitation managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and TNC Canada in partnership with GOS-UNDP-GEF; the MSP is connected to the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust, SeyCCAT. The Seychelles MSP has undertaken more than 25 stakeholder consultations, 50 one-to-one consultations and 7 public workshops to discuss the location of proposed areas for new MPAs. A zoning framework has been designed that creates two new biodiversity zones (Zone 1: high biodiversity; Zone 2: medium biodiversity and sustainable uses), plus allowable activities are being discussed for each of the new marine protection areas to ensure compatibility with zone and area objectives. In 2016, the Seychelles MSP undertook a rapid Marxan with Zones analysis using deep seafloor geomorphology, 87 biodiversity features and spatial layers for fisheries, tourism, shipping and other economic uses to identify the best locations for three zones using three scenarios (biodiversity bias, Blue Economy bias, economic bias), and check representation against 30% area targets.

The MPA expansion discussions include input from all major sectors including commercial fishing, tourism and marine charters, biodiversity conservation, renewable energy, port authority, maritime safety, and non-renewable resources in order to identify MPAs within a comprehensive marine plan and zoning design process - marine spatial planninng. The MSP will implement the new marine protected areas through existing and new legislation and regulations including for Protected Areas, Fisheries, and sustainable uses. The Seychelles Protected Area Policy is providing guidance for identifying and implementing new protected areas. Other considerations for implementation include monitoring and enforcement for illegal fishing, piracy, and activities not allowed (as specified by management plans).
Progress reports
14.2
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
Quantification
  • By 2020, Seychelles will use a multi-objective and integrated marine spatial planning process to protect 30% of its EEZ and develop a plan for existing and future marine activities.
14.3
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Coastal carbon sinks/blue carbon
  • CO2 emission reductions (energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.)
Quantification
  • By 2020, Seychelles will identify MPAs and their contribution or potential to store blue carbon and support Seychelles' national targets for reducing CO2 emissions and increasing renewable energy.
14.4
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Compliance, monitoring and enforcement
  • Reduction and elimination fishing practices and gear that destroy/degrade marine habitat
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
Quantification
  • By 2020, Seychelles will identify 15% of the exclusive zone (~200,000 km2) for medium biodiversity and sustainable use zones, improving fisheries management.
14.5
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
Quantification
  • By 2020, Seychelles will protect 15% of its EEZ in high biodiversity protection zones (incl. no take areas) and 15% in medium biodiversity and sustainable use areas.
14.6
By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
Type of commitment
14.7
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Economic benefits from sustainable tourism
  • Economic benefits from sustainable aquaculture/mariculture
  • Economic benefits from marine renewable energy
Quantification
  • By 2020, Seychelles will assess the socio-economic benefit of the MPAs to marine sectors.
14.a
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
Quantification
  • By 2017, a Marine Spatial Plan Atlas will be published to share knowledge about the marine biodiversity and economic uses in Seychelles.
14.b
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Type of commitment
14.c
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
Quantification
  • By 2018, Seychelles will approve new Protected Area Legislation
December 2018
Milestone 2: Protect an additional 7.5% of Seychelles coastal and marine waters high biodiversity zones and medium biodiversity sustainable use zones Dec/2018
December 2020
Milestone 3: Protect an additional 7.5% of Seychelles coastal and marine waters a total of 30% protection is completed in high biodiversity zones and medium biodiversity sustainable use zones.
June 2018
Milestone 1: Protect 15% of Seychelles coastal and marine waters in high biodiversity zones and medium biodiversity sustainable use zones.
In-kind contribution
Financing by GOS-UNDP-gef; $400,000 per year financing for the MSP and MPA expanstion from The Nature Conservancy
Staff / Technical expertise
GOS-UNDP-GEF; Government of Seychelles; The Nature Conservancy; consultants NGOs, marine sectors,
Other, please specify
Partnership and synergies with ongoing GOS-UNDP-GEF, World Bank projects, EU projects, SeyCCAT, and others
Basic information
Time-frame: February 2011 - December 2020
Partners
Office of the Vice-President (government), Department of Blue Economy (government), Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (government), Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (government), Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine (government), Seychelles Fishing Authority (government), Seychelles National Parks Authority (government), Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (government), Seychelles Coast Guard (government), PetroSeychelles (government), Island Development Corporation (government), The Nature Conservancy (NGO partner), TNC Canada (NGO partner), Government of Seychelles - United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility (government NGO), and many others.
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Seychelles
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Alain de Comarmond, Principal Secretary Environment, adecommarmond@gov.sc, +248 4670512
Mont Fleuri, Mah, Seychelles
Other SDGs
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