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SIF takes part in freshwater fish surveys | 07 April 2020

In February, Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) staff took part in field day workshops on Mahé and Praslin held by Profressor Phillip Keith and Marion Mennesson from the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, together with Dr Elvina Henriette of Gaea Seychelles.

The sessions were part of Professor Keith’s collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change in Seychelles to carry out an inventory of freshwater fish and crustaceans in Mahé and Praslin.

Professor P Keith has worked on freshwater fish and crustaceans for more than 22 years. He has participated in several inventory programmes in Seychelles and published two books and several scientific reports that provide an overview of freshwater species in Seychelles in 2006 and 2007.

This year’s project was a follow-up to one conducted in 2003. The main objectives of this study were to conduct an inventory of freshwater fish and crustaceans to fill the taxonomic gaps that exist in Seychelles. Conservation management in a specific area can only be effective once we understand the species composition in the ecosystem. This means we need to produce a comprehensive list of the species present, or a ‘species inventory’, to facilitate informed conservation measures in these unique freshwater ecosystems.

Freshwater resources are constantly threatened and are, in general, rapidly declining in area and quality. The Vallée de Mai and the surrounding palm forest is home to important and relatively undisturbed freshwater systems, with a suite of associated endemic plants and animals, so the partnership with Professor Keith will help us to understand the challenges faced by each species and encourage conservation legislation to protect freshwater ecosystems in Seychelles. Understanding which species are both culturally and economically important, including species that are indicators of ecosystem health, will enable suitable management of these freshwater ecosystems.

This work will go a long way to addressing conservation issues in these precious ecosystems and improve our understanding of important biodiversity areas.

Source: SIF February newsletter

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