Sixth annual Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival to take place on Praslin |06 August 2018
For the first time this year, the Seychelles Sea Turtle festival will be taking place on Praslin on Saturday August 11.
School children, teachers, members from various environmental and educational organisations, ministerial departments and tourism institutions will be marching for the protection and conservation of endangered sea turtles on the streets of Baie Ste Anne.
The aim of the Sea Turtle festival is to raise public awareness of sea turtles and the need to protect them.
Since its inception in 2013, the festival activities have been held on the main island of Mahé.
This year the organising committee has decided to bring the festival to Praslin and give Praslinois and Diguois a chance to take part in the activities. Praslin and La Digue host some of the most important nesting beaches for sea turtles in the inner islands. The two islands are surrounded by lush coral reefs and large areas of seagrass beds, which are vital foraging habitats for both hawksbill and green turtles respectively.
While sea turtle populations in Seychelles have generally increased since national turtle protection laws were instigated in the 1960s, the population of sea turtles within the inner granitic islands continues to decline, mainly due to poaching activities for consumption of their meat.
Another threat is the destruction of foraging and nesting habitats due to coastal development.
Educating the public on these issues and the importance of protecting sea turtles is crucial to conserving the sea turtle population in the inner islands. Turtles are a vital part of the marine ecosystem and are a great attraction for the thousands of tourists who visit Seychelles every year.
The festival will be celebrated with a public march at Baie Ste Anne Praslin. The march will begin at 9.30am at the car park of the Baie Ste Anne jetty and will end at the playing field next to the district administration office.
Those taking part in the march in the march will be school children from all Praslin and La Digue schools, members from local non-governmental organisations (NGO) such as Friends of Vallée de Mai, Friends of Flycatcher, Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, Wiseoceans, Global Vision International Seychelles, Seychelles Islands Foundation, Island Conservation Society, and members from government departments from the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Education and the Seychelles Natural History Museum. Various hotel institutions from Praslin and La Digue will also be taking part in the march which aims to attract sea turtle lovers from all over the country to showcase their dedication and passion towards the protection of sea turtles.
Over the last five years, the Seychelles Sea Turtle festival has involved over 25 local partner organisations, with over 3,000 people attending the festivals, and more than 1,500 schoolchildren reached from over 20 schools. It also has 1,500 followers on its website and social media pages.
The festival is organised by the Sea Turtle Friends of Seychelles, a unique organisation with a committee formed of representatives from a range of NGOs and governmental departments. The activities are supported by the Environment Trust Fund through the Ministry of Environment, who mandates national policy objectives and environmental laws on sea turtles.
More details about the organisation and the activities for Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival 2018 can be found on their website www.seychellesseaturtlefestival.org and through their Facebook page.
Children taking part in a past sea turtle festival