Pye Koray workshop |30 May 2023
Traditional artisanal techniques in coral reef restoration
A workshop providing training on traditional bamboo weaving techniques and raising awareness on how these materials and methods are being used in coral reef restoration efforts took place recently.
The half-day workshop, held at the Domaine de Val des Près (Craft Village), was organised by
project partners under the ‘Pye Koray – Incorporating traditional creole artisanal techniques in coral reef conservation’ project.
They are namely the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS), Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) and Groupe Artisans des Seychelles (GAS).
Funded by the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme, the Pye Koray project seeks to promote local coral reef stewardship and valorise traditional creole culture in the context of marine conservation. This project holds three main objectives:
1. To contribute to the rehabilitation of coral reefs & generation of ecosystem services they provide, from the development of an eco-friendly coral nursery designed by local artisans and coral restoration specialists;
2. To promote local traditional knowledge of weaving and coral reef resilience through the development of a communication strategy showcasing the collaboration between the project partners;
3. To produce a toolkit to incorporate traditional knowledge in contemporary conservation efforts and to replicate and upscale the project both locally and within the region.
MCSS’ coral reef restoration efforts entail the coral gardening method, which involves the construction and placement of underwater nurseries that are populated with coral fragments, maintained, and then transplanted onto the reef once ready. Currently, the coral gardening method in the nursery involves the use of synthetic materials, such as PVC pipes, cable ties, and nylon. Although MCSS reuses these as much as possible, it was decided to improve sustainability best practices in coral gardening by attempting to replace synthetic materials entirely with natural and sustainable materials. Bamboo was identified as an ideal natural resource to build more sustainable coral nurseries.
The traditional techniques of weaving bamboo are, however, being increasingly lost to subsequent generations and replaced by imported and synthetic products and materials. As the project aims to contribute to the valorisation of local, natural materials and traditional weaving methods, the workshop was targeted at youth and local artisans. Project partners welcomed over 50 participants (15 male and 34 female) from a wide range of institutions, including Seychelles Maritime Academy, International School Seychelles, Seychelles Institute of Art and Design, School of Advanced Level Studies, Independent School, Perseverance School, Seychelles National Youth Council, and Enterprise Seychelles Agency.
Four local instructors, including Fulgere Morel, Vivian Morel, Andre Hoareau and Guy Sabury, provided training on the entire process; starting from the selection of the bamboo, its preparation, the cutting methods to halve and further divide it into strips, and then the trimming and cleaning techniques to be able to weave the strips. The workshop participants wasted no time in getting started! They replicated the demonstrations and prepared their bamboo from scratch, producing the start of woven mats. Participants also showed great interest in the project and how these materials and methods are being used in coral reef restoration. The feedback from the overwhelming majority of participants indicated that they enjoyed the workshop and were keen to receive more training and become involved in this initiative.
To stay updated on the project’s progress, follow MCSS on Facebook and Instagram @marineconservationsocietysey