The Seychelles Cap Ternay project focuses on SDG 14 Life Below Water and achieves this with Quality Education (SDG 4) and Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). We work with 6-8 different partners in horizontal relationships.
There have been two mass bleaching events in the Seychelles. In 1998 Seychelles lost over 90% coral cover on the granitic islands. In 2016 warming waters plus El Nino temperatures caused another mass bleaching event resulting in a 60% decline in coral cover. Monitoring these reefs is crucial.
We have one of the longest-running data sets in the Western Indian Ocean. Our data spans 15 years. We have engaged in continuous monitoring of the coral reef ecosystems around the North West of Mahe. The aim is to better understand the impacts on these fragile systems and how best to protect them.
In 2018-2019 we completed 5702 Coral Watch surveys contributing to worldwide data for the University of Queensland citizen science research. In 2019 we recorded 4134 corals. Our data collection also includes species in the area. In 2019 we recorded 2069 species of shark, ray, turtles, marine mammals, and big fish. We photographed 68 turtles, 18 were identified as unique species and 50 are unidentified.
Our Marine National Scholarship Program is a program for 18-25 year old Seychellois interested in marine. It helps give vital training for diving qualifications increasing their opportunities for future employment and further education. We work with NGOs to provide hands-on experience in research and conservation including coral reef, turtle and shark monitoring, project management, and science communication training. This is an important project because diving is expensive and the Marine Scholarship Program and it gives Seychellois opportunities that will not be otherwise attainable.
In 2018-2019 we conducted a series of Dive Against Debris dives at our two adopted dive sites Corsaire and Site X. We focused on the collection of foam, plastic, and other lightweight items. The total time underwater was 895 minutes, we collected 433 items with a total weight of items 65 kg.
Our project also works to develop an understanding of environmental issues for primary school children at Port Glaud and the International School Seychelles. Understanding the local region, the issues, and actions is a vital part of longer-term conservation measures.