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Seychelles, Mauritius and Monaco Collaborate to Explore the Saya de Malha Banks

In an effort to support marine science and push the agenda of the Monaco Expedition that recently took place in October-November this year, the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Mr. Jean-Francois Ferrari and the Principal Secretary for the Department of Blue Economy, Mr. Kenneth Racombo met with the Seychellois participants this week to learn from their experiences and also inquire about what can be done to improve the roles and functions of the participants during future marine scientific expeditions.

The second leg of the Monaco Exploration journey which took place onboard the Vessel named S. A. Agulhas II, brought a group of scientists of multi- disciplinary expertise to the Saya de Malha Banks within the Joint Management Area (JMA) which is being currently co-managed by Seychelles and Mauritius. This second leg of the expedition was led and headed by Mr. Gilles Bessero, the Director of the Société des Explorations de Monaco.

Onboard the Monaco Expedition into the JMA were 13 scientists from Seychelles and 11 from Mauritius, including other French-speaking nationalities. They all left Port Victoria with the objectives of collecting scientific information on still poorly known areas of the marine environment in the shallow areas of the Saya de Malha Bank and its slopes and to also provide a concise policy brief for institutional stakeholders and policy makers in Seychelles and Mauritius.

As explained by one of the participants, Mr. Abel Sorry, the Principal Research Officer of the Department of Blue Economy, “the Monaco expedition was a very well-planned expedition which taught, especially our young scientists’ onboard, new professional skills by engaging with the different experts from diverse fields of marine science. They also had the opportunity to enhance their social skills as the group had to interact with the different nationalities.” Mr. Sorry also took note of one important observation he made onboard the vessel as he affirmed that “there was a true spirit of partnership, collaboration and fraternity between the Seychelles participants and our Mauritian counterparts. We met each other half-way and made this expedition an outstanding and memorable one”.

Before concluding the meeting, Minister Ferrari seized the opportunity to congratulate the Seychellois participants for their dedication to marine science and encouraged them to keep pushing for the establishment of a scientific society in Seychelles so that the country can become a regional hub for maritime research and science.

The Department of Blue Economy, along with the participants are planning to organise more activities to sensitise the public and also showcase their experience as participants from Seychelles in this research expedition. The general public and media will be informed about the upcoming programmes and initiatives in due course.