The oceans make up most of the Earth’s service and contains an enormous amount of biodiversity. The process of gathering fish for human consumption is destroying this biodiversity at an alarming rate. Species such as tuna are being fished to extinction, but the rate at which humans are fishing for them is only accelerating. This article discusses an island country named Seychelles and its efforts to preserve the ocean surrounding it. Seychelles is a country located 1000 miles off shore of East Africa, North of Madagascar. It consists of 115 small islands and is 99% covered by water. The oceans that surround Seychelles are said to be some of the finest on the Earth and contain countless endangered Marine species including dugongs, sea turtles, tuna, and sharks that need to be protected.
Even though the population of fish, like tuna, are decreasing at a disastrous rate, the demand for their consumption continues to increase. This demand has been met by finding new places and methods for capturing the fish, and Seychelles happens to be one of those places. The issue is that foreign fishing boats encroach onto the countries ocean’s and overexploit its shark and tuna populations while further leading these species into extinction. The process they use to fish these species also effects the populations of another species that weren’t intended to be caught. By doing 260 dives in Seychelles, the Pristine Seas expedition team gathered information which show the true effects of this type of fishing around the country. With that clear information, the country decided that they would start to enforce the protection of their oceans.
The plan to create an ocean refuge around Seychelles will hopefully diminish the rate at which the oceans are destroyed. Once put into effect, the refuge will consist of 29,000 square miles of shallow water marine habitat and 52,000 square miles of deep water. This area is said to be roughly the same size as Great Britain. This 81,000 square mile of ocean reserve is expected to double by 2022 when they plan to expand the refuge to 160,000 square miles. This Marine refuge will hopefully help preserve the marine habitats and species that currently exist in the area.
Being a country consisting of Islands, their well-being greatly depends on the welfare of their oceans. Sea level rise is a huge threat to the humans that live there, and their main source of food is fish. These circumstances have influenced the country to act quickly in order to alleviate the issue. This ocean refuge covers a massive amount of area and is a step in the right direction towards ocean preservation. However, it is still not enough to completely stop the severe damage that is constantly occurring. Per NOAA.gov, the Earth’s oceans cover 70% of its surface, which is roughly 139 million square miles. The ocean refuge being implicated by the Seychelles government is not even 1% of that. More countries need to create larger ocean refuges and increase regulation on fishing if we wish to remain enjoying our vast ocean and it’s resources.