North Island’s conservation efforts extend beyond the Island to the beautiful waters surrounding North that are teaming with marine life. The Environment team and Dive Centre staff regularly collect data on the diversity and abundance of corals, invertebrates and fish life, and soon guests can get even more involved. The end-goal is sufficient evidence to protect our precious reefs by becoming a designated Ecological Marine Protected Area.
North Island’s environmentalists conduct biannual marine surveys in collaboration with Green Islands Foundation. These surveys have helped to collect baseline data to which future marine survey data can be compared. In 2016, permanent transects were set up with the aim of collecting data in the exact same location over time, allowing North Island to monitor coral growth more closely as well as understand the effects and recovery progress following the El Nino event last year.
Together with the more structured methodology, eco-tourists are scheduled to snorkel four times a week where they document and photograph any fish they encounter underwater. While out on dives, the Environment and Dive Centre departments also collect data on certain keystone species including endangered fish, turtles, sharks and rays.
The latest addition to marine life data collection allows interested guests to get involved in the process. North Island is currently developing fish slates which list approximately thirty species of fish and sharks. Soon both staff and guests will be able to use these slates when diving and snorkeling around the island to mark off target species which can be used to indicate reef health.
It provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time with our Environmentalists while enjoying the pristine aquamarine waters around North Island and appreciating the incredible nature that is endemic to Seychelles. Becoming an Ecological Marine Protected Area will be a progressive step to not only being a terrestrial safe haven for endangered species on land, but also for the marine species occurring around the Island.