President Faure awarded the Ocean Heritage Award | 10 July 2019
President Danny Faure has been awarded the Ocean Heritage Award by the Shark Research Institute.
The award was handed over to the President yesterday morning at State House by Dr David Rowat, chairman of the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS), the official representative of the Shark Research Institute in Seychelles. Shark Research Institute is based in New Jersey, USA and is an international organisation.
The executive of the Shark Research Institute has awarded the Head of State the Ocean Heritage Award for implementing the first phase of the extension of Marine Protected areas to the goal of 30% of Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone, and for his continued campaign to conserve the “beating blue heart of our planet”.
“This award is only given to Heads of State that have made truly outstanding contributions to the health of the ocean, for their work in protecting sharks and the marine habitat, and in the hope that their leadership encourages other nations to follow suit,” noted Dr Rowat.
There have been only two previous recipients of the Shark Research Institute’s Ocean Heritage Award.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines, received the award in 2008 in recognition of her decades of efforts to protect sharks and the ocean ecosystem as the foundation for a stable, productive and sustainable society.
In 2010, Johnson Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau, received the award for creating the entire EEZ of Palau – 237,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean – as the world’s first shark sanctuary.
“I am very pleased that Seychelles has been rewarded; there are not many world leaders that have been recipient of such an award. But most importantly it’s the country that is the recipient of this award. The President really enjoys the marine environment and has always spoken very frankly and openly. It is very nice to be able to talk honestly about these things and to reflect about what Seychelles is doing globally in terms of conservation. We hope that we can do even more in terms of preservation with more Seychellois coming in the field,” stated Dr Rowat.
The MCSS, incorporating the Shark Research Institute Seychelles, is a non-membership, non-governmental organisation. MCSS was founded in 1997 by local divers and conservationists to address perceived problems of coral reef degradation due to Crown of Thorns starfish and anchor damage and to formalise a long-term scientific monitoring programme for whale sharks, first set-up in 1996.
The aims of the MCSS are to improve the conservation of marine eco-systems through scientific, management, educational and training programmes. These aims are accomplished by the facilitation of projects through the organisation of volunteers, raising of finances and the provision of facilities and equipment. Many of the projects are carried out cooperatively with other organisations or government bodies. Please visit the MCSS projects page for details of current and previous MCSS projects.
MCSS currently has 17 full-time paid staff who are responsible for the implementation of long-term monitoring programmes and grant funded projects. They are assisted by some 14 volunteers and students doing research projects. MCSS is carrying out seven different programmes in various parts of Seychelles.