The Ocean Health Index (OHI) has ranked Seychelles first in Africa after the latest global assessment of ocean health. Seychelles are on the 33rd place amongst 22 countries and territories. Morocco and Egypt were ranked second and third on the continent.
The first place is thought to be a milestone for the archipelago after one of its most popular beaches – Beau Vallon – was awarded in September the White Flag by White Flag International, indicating that the zone is one among the world’s first Certified Safe Marine Areas, according to Seychelles News Agency.
Moreover, Ocean Health Index assessment was conducted by the US-based National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and global non-profit Conservation International.
Environmentalists in Seychelles reported that the island nation’ strong conservation practices have resulted in the ranking with a score of 77 out of 100.
Alain Decomarmond, the principal secretary for Environment in the Ministry of Energy, Environment and Climate Change commented that
This shows that nationally we are on the right track to make a difference. What the index is showing is that we are doing extremely well – the scores we received for biodiversity for example – where conservation is concerned and the protection of our seas.
The assessment for a country’s ocean health score is based on 10 features, such as food provision, biodiversity, coastal livelihoods and economies, tourism and recreation, artisanal fishing opportunities, clean waters, carbon storage among others.
Ben Taylor from Wise Oceans, a not for profit organization working on the island nation added
They take in a lot of different factors. They do studies on chemical pollution, runoff from the land, agriculture input. They look at fisheries, port, they look at import and export, they do a holistic study.
In comparison to Seychelles first place ranking, Philippe Michaud, advisor for the Blue Economy, reported that there are additional areas that need to be improved, as pollution, overfishing and fishing of endangered species.
Concluding, the 2018 OHI also indicated that 14 out of 36 coastal countries in Africa experienced marginal improvements in ocean health when measured against the first assessment conducted in 2012, while the rest of the nations recorded declines.