Seychelles on Wednesday announced an area of ocean the size of Great Britain that will be newly protected from overfishing, pollution, and unplanned development to guard against climate change while not slowing economic progress.
American actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio was among those involved in the development.
“The two new areas for protection and management together cover a total area of just over 200,000 square kilometres or 16 percent of Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone,” said Didier Dogley, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change.
The first marine protected area includes 74,400 square kilometres of waters surrounding the extremely isolated Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that has remained largely untouched by people.
The second covers 136,000 square kilometers of a commercially important stretch of ocean between the Amirantes group of coral islands and Fortune Bank.
The Marine Protected Areas are the first milestones in a six-year process that will end in 2020 with 30 percent of Seychelles’ ocean safeguarded, as part of a new comprehensive Marine Spatial Plan for all of the country’s waters.