The Green Islands Foundation (GIF) continues with its National Shark Education Campaign, spreading the message about the importance of sharks to another group of school children. On 21st April 2015 GIF teamed up with WiseOceans and the Fishermen and Boat Owner’s Association (FBOA) to educate a group of scouts about the wonders of our oceans and the sharks that roam our seas. 13 students from the 4th and 18th Seychelles Scouts Troop from Belonie and Plaisance Secondary school respectively, took part in the activity held at the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles and the Victoria Fishing Port.
For the first half of the day, the students spent at Petite Anse bay where the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles is located and where the WiseOceans team is based. WiseOceans are specialists in marine education and conservation and strive to spread awareness about our wonderful yet fragile oceans and the creatures that live within them.
Jo Eames, a Marine Educator at WiseOceans gave the students a presentation on the various species of fish, coral, invertebrates and reptiles that can be found on the reef. The scouts also enjoyed a reef guided snorkel with the senior Marine Educator at WiseOceans Charlotte Orba, assisted by GIF staff Arjan De Groene. This was a great opportunity for them to observe and identify the diversity of marine life found on coral reefs. Jennifer Appoo from GIF gave a presentation about sharks, explaining what makes them unique fish and which different shark species can be found in Seychelles waters. Explaining to children the role of sharks in the ocean as well as the threats sharks face by shark finning, overfishing, habitat destruction are included in GIFs campaign.
In the afternoon, the group moved to the Fishing Port in Victoria where FBOA is based. FBOA is an NGO set to defend and promote the traditional fishing sector in Seychelles and sustainable fishing practices. Assisted by Bertille Bonne from FBOA and local artist Peter Lalande, the children enjoyed a drawing and colouring activity to show what they saw under the sea. They were also encouraged to draw their favourite shark before going home.
These activities are part of Shark Projects being implemented by GIF aiming to educate the local community and raise awareness on the importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem. The project is funded by the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme and the Environment Trust Fund. GIF is also partnering up with FBOA for an activity implemented by the IOC-SmartFish project through its FAO managed components.
Sharks play a very important role in the oceans in a way that an average fish does not. They are at the top of the food chain in virtually every part of every ocean. Our oceans play a central role in many of today’s societal issues and students are inherently interested to learn more. Marine education is essential to give students the right message and initiatives undertaken by various environmental organizations are gaining momentum in Seychelles.
According to Charlotte Orba:
“WiseOceans were thrilled to have welcomed the boys and girls from the 4th and 18th Seychelles Scout Troup for this event with Green Islands Foundation. Everyone was very enthusiastic and passionate about the marine life that they learned about and saw on their snorkel. It is exciting to see that this event and others like it will help to ensure that Seychelles has some great future ambassadors for its incredible marine life!”