Ocean Health Index, the Seychelles in first place in Africa

Ocean Health Index (OHI) has ranked Seychelles first in Africa in marine health assessment

Press release 05.02.2019

The Ocean Health Index (OHI) has Seychelles ranked first in Africa according to the latest global marine health assessment. Globally, the island nation ranked 33rd among 220 countries and territories. Morocco and Egypt ranked second and third on the continent.

The ranking is another important milestone for the archipelago after one of its most popular beaches - Beau Vallon - was awarded the White Flag by White Flag International in September, showing that the zone is among the world's first certified safe marine areas.


Karl Schnürch

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The Ocean Health Index assessment was conducted by the US-based National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and the global non-profit organisation Conservation International. It draws attention to the management of the world's oceans, on which millions of people depend for food, jobs and other vital benefits.

Environmentalists in Seychelles praised the island nation's strong conservation practices, which resulted in a ranking of 77 out of 100.

The State Secretary for the Environment at the Ministry of Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Alain Decomarmond, said: "This shows that we are on the right track nationally to make a difference. The index shows that we are doing very well - for example in biodiversity - when it comes to conserving and protecting our seas."

In an article published in Africa News, OHI senior scientist Ben Halpern said "an annual, comprehensive diagnosis for the world's oceans provides decision-makers with information and knowledge they can use to implement effective policies for improved sustainable ocean management".

A total of 10 elements are assessed to arrive at an overall score for a country's ocean health, including food supply, biodiversity, coastal livelihoods and economies, tourism and recreation, artisanal fishing opportunities, clean waters, carbon storage and others.

"They take into account many different factors. They do studies on chemical pollution, runoff from the land, agricultural inputs.

They look at the fishery, the port, they look at import and export, they do a holistic study," said Ben Taylor of Wise Oceans, a non-profit organisation working on the Island Nation.

Taylor added that it is amazing that Seychelles comes top in Africa. "I think a lot of it comes from the fact that the government, non-governmental organisations and people have a strong focus on the environment, mangroves, seagrass, coral reefs, which is really a credit to Seychelles and that's why it has such a high score," Taylor said.

However, Philippe Michaud, Blue Economy advisor, believes that the high score should not be seen as all being well. "There are other areas where a lot of improvement is needed, for example when we look at pollution, overfishing and catching endangered species."

The OHI, conducted since 2012, scientifically assesses the ocean health of 220 countries and territories around the world by analysing various datasets to show the current and projected future state of their respective ocean resources and how optimally and sustainably nations are managing the benefits of their oceans such as food, recreation and tourism.

The OHI 2018 also indicated that 14 out of 36 coastal countries in Africa showed marginal improvement in marine health, as measured by the first assessment in 2012, while the remaining countries showed declines.

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Karl Schnürch
Author: Karl Schnürch

In 2007 I started the website Seychelles.com to write everything I experienced from my head. Since then I have been constantly optimizing and expanding Seychelles.com to eventually present a complete picture of Seychelles on this site.

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