Seychelles becomes 144th Ramsar Party
On 22 November 2004 Seychelles deposited with the Director-General of UNESCO its instrument of accession to the Convention on Wetlands, as amended by the Paris Protocol (1982) and Regina Amendments (1987), and the Convention will enter into force for this small group of islands off the eastern coast of Africa on 22 March 2005.
Seychelles' first Ramsar site is the "Port Launay Coastal Wetlands" (Port Glaud Wetlands), 29 hectares in Port Glaud District, one of the best mangrove wetlands on Mahé, the main island, supporting all seven species of mangrove in the region. The coastal area provides ideal habitat for spawning, nursery, feeding and cover for fish, and the Seychelles endemic Goujon (Pachypanchax playfairii) and the freshwater fish Macanbale (Ophiocara porocephala) are present in the streams. The mangroves along the coast help to stabilize the shoreline, and the upland parts of the site, granitic areas with high drainage, play an important role in the local hydrology. The site is already used for educational activities for schoolchildren, especially around World Wetlands Day, and there are plans for expanded ecotourism, with a boardwalk through the mangrove system in order to demonstrate a wide range of natural processes.The WWF Global Freshwater Programme, WWF Madagascar, and Switzerland through the Ramsar Swiss Grant for Africa have been instrumental in helping Seychelles to prepare for accession and to compile the necessary data for this and other potential Ramsar sites.
The Convention's Senior Advisor for Africa, Mr Abou Bamba, says that "the coastal areas of Seychelles are among the most beautiful and productive in the world" and he pointed to Seychelles' process towards accession as "one of the best examples of Ramsar cooperation among the Secretariat, the national authorities, and international and local NGOs". The Secretariat warmly welcomes Seychelles to the Ramsar family and looks forward to continued collaboration towards our mutual objectives.
Mangroves in the Port Launay Coastal Wetlands (Port Glaud Wetlands)
(from left) Martin Nicoll, WWF Madagascar; Ralph Payet, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources; Abou Bamba, Ramsar Secretariat; Hon. Ronny Jumeau, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, at the Ramsar pre-accession workshop in Mahé, World Wetlands Day, February 2004
Abou Bamba and Minister Ronny Jumeau
Abou Bamba and Seychelles fauna, February 2004