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Seychelles

Cousin Island

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Conservation benefit: Demarcation buoys for the Cousin Island Marine Reserve

Date Approved: 11.2002

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

At only 62 acres, granitic Cousin Island is one of the smallest islands of the Seychelles. The island, a private nature reserve, is home to five of the bird species found only in the Seychelles. It’s also a nesting haven for a variety of seabirds and hawksbill turtles. The reserve, which includes the island as well as 437 yards of surrounding sea and reefs, is a conservation success story. The rehabilitation of rare species is at the forefront of island activities, and more than 10,000 visitors a year boost the local economy.

Because the boundaries of the protected marine area are not clearly marked, fishers sometimes inadvertently poach from the conservation area. Seacology, in cooperation with the local nonprofit organization Nature Seychelles, is funding eight buoys to mark the reserve’s boundaries. The Seacology grant will also fund training for Cousin Island staff on installing and maintaining the buoys.

Project Updates

July 2008

In support of ongoing conservation, Seacology granted funds to replace four mooring buoys that were lost due to extreme weather between 2003 and 2007. Forty years after the reserve was established, the Seychelles Warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis) numbers have risen by 300%, and the island has been transformed from a coconut plantation to a Nature Reserve.

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July 2005

Seven demarcation buoys have been placed around the 434-yard perimeter of Cousin Island Special Reserve. An international initiative to investigate the effectiveness of the management of marine protected areas (MPAs) was conducted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The investigation concluded that the Cousin Island Special Reserve proves to be a well-managed protected area, both in terms of achieving its biodiversity and socio-economic objectives, and in terms of showing good percentages overall of land, seabird and coral species diversity. The Seacology project assisted in improving management effectiveness by demarcating the boundaries for the first time. Cousin is currently the only MPA in Seychelles with demarcation buoys in place.

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January 2005

Six demarcation buoys have been placed around the 434-yard perimeter of Cousin Island Special Reserve. The final position of each installation was governed by finding a suitable place to deploy the manta anchors. One additional buoy needs to be deployed to the north of Cousin Island, which will make a total of seven buoys; installation is planned before the end of the year.

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July 2004

The demarcation buoys and all necessary equipment were received and the exact positions for the buoys have been determined with help from the necessary authorities. A local entity will be installing the buoys this summer as soon as weather and currents are favorable.

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November 2003

An American company is presently manufacturing the buoys. Nature Seychelles has identified a local entity that will be installing the buoys as soon as they arrive.

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