IUCN - Seychelles Coral Reef Invasives

Seychelles Coral Reef Invasives

Seychelles, Indian Ocean

Seychelles, Indian Ocean

Photo: Ameer Abdulla IUCN

Examining invasive species, Seychelles

Project Overview

The IUCN, in partnership with the Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology (SCMRT-MPA) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, is in the final stages of a project to identify non-indigenous species in the Seychelles; enhance capacity of staff and institutions involved in monitoring; and improve awareness of local communities to the threats posed by these introduced organisms and the impacts they may have on their economy.

Although terrestrial invasive species have received considerable attention, marine invasives have been largely ignored over the past decade. The spread of non-indigenous marine species has recently become a global environmental threat due to the rapid increase in commercial shipping and recreational boating.

The damage caused by invasive species can be devastating due to potential competition with indigenous species, alteration of ecosystem dynamics, and the threat to the complexity and resilience of the local ecosystem. Invasive species are more likely to settle in disturbed or degraded habitats and can further compound human-induced impacts such as over-harvesting or physical damage. Research and monitoring efforts are essential to provide early detection and warning of the arrival of introduced species, as well as to equip managers with a better understanding of the impacts of introduced species on coral reef ecosystems. This understanding must be complemented with on-site action plans for managers to stem the introduction and expansion of introduced species on coral reefs and related ecosystems.

In early 2005 a capacity-building workshop was held for a team of specialists in the Seychelles to learn about detection and monitoring procedures for introduced species in ports and coral reef environments. A full baseline survey was then undertaken in Port Victoria and Sainte Anne Marine National Park and samples were sent to international taxonomic experts for analysis.

IUCN's role is project coordination, management, administration, and technical supervision; responsible for a series of workshops to train environmental and research staff to detect and monitor invasive species in the port and on coral reefs of the Seychelles; and responsible for information dissemination and increasing local and regional awareness of the issue.

The final component of this project is an awareness campaign to increase knowledge about the problems associated with marine introduced species, distribute the results of the surveys in the Seychelles, and discuss strategies for managing introduced species in the Seychelles.

This campaign will take place during the 8th until the 18th August on Mahe Island. For more information please use the menu on the left to learn about the campaign.

Partners:

Total Foundation
Seychelles Ministry of the Environment
Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology-Marine Parks Authority
Coral Reef Degradation in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO)
Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN)