Did you know that coral reefs occupy less than 0.01% of the world’s oceans, and that of the coral reefs that exist, 60% of them have been either destroyed or damaged? What’s even more surprising is that 25% of all marine life lives on the small percentage of surviving coral reefs!
Here in the Seychelles there are Marine Parks that have been set up like St Anne’s and Baie Ternay which mean that the fragile coral reef environment is being protected and monitored. Park fees for the people visiting mean that there is some funding that goes towards the protection of these areas of natural beauty. Fishing is banned, and there are permanent moorings in the bay so that anchors aren’t being dropped on the corals.
I have been lucky enough to visit Baie Ternay several times since I arrived in the Seychelles and am amazed at the incredible amount of corals and marine life in the bay every time. At high tide with blue skies the reef is more alive than ever, the colours seem brighter and the marine life more active. Baie Ternay has areas of seagrass which are favoured by turtles. I was also lucky enough to go shark tagging with the Seychelles Fisheries Research team. We stood knee-deep in the shallows with juvenile lemon sharks about a foot long, swimming around our ankles all afternoon but none of them took the bait! Very frustrating! The research I was helping with was to go towards data logging the amount of time juvenile lemon sharks stay in the coastal regions, in particular Bair Ternay where the warm, murky conditions are favoured by the sharks. This is the first research of its kind in the Seychelles, so its great that I was able to help out!
So after months of snorkeling and diving here in the Seychelles, I find myself seeing the smaller marine creatures on the reef, which I would not have seen when I first arrived. My eyes have definitely adjusted to seeing nudibranchs – I’ve always been impressed by nudibranchs, and got upset when I couldn’t see them diving, but now I see them everywhere!!