Nature Seychelles’ Eric Blais recently returned from the 6th session of the CSO/Private sector forum on sustainable Tuna Fisheries management in the South West Indian Ocean held in Mombasa, Kenya. The meeting was hosted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Tuna Fisheries Alliance of Kenya (TuFAK). Such meetings have been held annually since 2010. This is the third such meeting attended by a Nature Seychelles representative.
“The sea is dark green all the way from Praslin to Cousin”, Christopher Mahoune, a senior Warden on Cousin Island special Reserve told me at round 5 pm on Friday 23rd of October. Christopher said there were dead fish washing up on the beaches of Cousin. I immediately asked our Science Officer Cheryl Sanchez to start listing the species affected and to take samples and observations of the water. The Cousin staff also observed bioluminescence in the water and my first thought was that an algal bloom was taking place. Subsequent conversations with other people confirmed the same phenomenon was taking place on Mahe and as far as Fregate Island.
Dormant, who's dormant?
The South East monsoon season in the Seychelles is generally the drier of the two wind seasons. Within this monsoon season, August/September is a time when many Lesser Noddy chicks are within a month or two of fledging. As one can imagine, thousands of nesting seabirds keep Nature Seychelles researchers working on Cousin Island Special Reserve very busy. However, just as many other islands have experienced, Cousin received outstanding amounts of rain over a four-week period. The island was transformed.
Marine life in the waters around Cousin Island Special Reserve are protected from negative human activities
I was at the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 where Sustainable Development was hailed by the world community as the silver bullet to solve society’s ills. But somehow Sustainable Development emerged as a construct with a largely terrestrial focus. I also attended the second Earth Summit, Rio+10, in South Africa where the movement to set up Green Economies mysteriously avoided speaking substantively about the oceans, despite our best efforts. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), sitting on small pieces of land seemingly “sea-locked” within large ocean territories, struggled with this concept of the Green Economy. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were launched in 2001 compounded the problem as they were implemented largely using a land-based optic
My experience in conservation has shown me that success is only possible when people’s behaviors are changed, in most cases in Seychelles in baby steps or subtle ways. Now a novel method to influence people is getting traction around the world. “Nudge” policies or inducements are designed to subtly influence behavior and are based on behavioral economics. The objective is simply to nudge people into acting in the government’s (or a company’s) interest by, for example, paying taxes on time, eating more healthily, giving up smoking or buying a product. I am convinced that the paradigm shift needed for establishing a truly sustainable society should rely on such principles.