Seychelles designates new marine reserve

Seychelles designates new marine reserve”

The Seychelles has floated a plan to deepen its marine conservation efforts in return for a groundbreaking sovereign debt deal backed by funds including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

With help from a team of backers, the Nature Conservancy, back in 2016, helped the Seychelles convert $22 million in national debt owed to the U.K., France, Belgium, and Italy, raising money from donors to pay off part of the debt, and negotiating to cut the interest rate charged to the Seychelles government.

The actor and environmentalist is one of five investors working with The Nature Conservancy to undertake the first ever "debt for nature" swap to protect the oceans.

The Seychelles, an island nation in East Africa, recently announced the creation of two new Marine Protected Areas roughly as big as Great Britain.

"These protections mean that all species living in these waters or migrating through them are now far better shielded from overfishing, pollution, and climate change".

It is home to about 100,000 rare giant tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) and is also the nesting grounds of hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Tourism has been successful in the Seychelles in recent years, but The Telegraph said record numbers of visitors have taken their toll on the islands; commercial fishing has increased to meet demand.

"Our large ocean brings development opportunities but also responsibility", said Seychelles President Danny Faure.

Nature Conservancy said the Seychelles are among the nations most vulnerable to climate change due to their dependence on marine resources.

Dogley said that by 2020 close to a third of Seychelles waters will be protected with a new "spatial plan" for ocean use to prevent unregulated and illegal fishing as well as oil and gas exploration, deep-sea mining, and dredging.

"What you see today in Seychelles is what we expect to introduce in the Caribbean and other ocean regions facing the threats of climate change", he said.

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