Aquatic science and surveys ongoing in the country |22 February 2020
Dr Philippe Keith, from the Paris Natural History Museum and Gaya Seychelles in collaboration with the ministry of environment is working together on a new study of fresh water species.
The project is a follow up to a similar study that was conducted in 2003. The study started on February 13 and will end on February 27.
A presentation took place yesterday morning at the Manchester Theatre at UniSey in front of students, researchers and government representatives to present the basis of the project.
One of the main objectives of the project is to do an inventory of freshwater fish and crustaceans in the Seychelles in order to fill the gaps recently identified in the taxonomy in this region.
“This project is important as there have been many changes since the last study and this will help the ministry understand the species in this ecosystem and the challenges they face,” said Ashley Dias, director of biodiversity and conservation section in the ministry of environment.
She added that globally fresh water resources are declining more than terrestrial and ocean wildlife and scientists have observed a three-quarter loss during the past forty years.
“When Dr Phillips approached the government to conduct the study, we jumped at the opportunity to work with them,” said Ms Dias.
The director continued by adding that the partnership will be long term and it will address the issues of conservation and implementation of conservation laws.
She remarked that this is a national project and encouraged local partners to join the ministry to collect as much information and build the capacity of the students and researchers that will be participating in the project
“Once all the information has been collected then there will be a more detailed analysis conducted to identify endemic species,” Ms Dias added.
Recent research has highlighted the diversity of freshwater species in the Seychelles Islands and also identifies important data deficiency issues for freshwater species in this country. The project will contribute to determine the valid name of each species present, their distribution and their endemic status.
These elements will help propose an exhaustive list of the species present and implement adequate management and conservation measures, as well as assist with overall freshwater management issues.
Furthermore, the project focuses on increasing knowledge in important biodiversity areas, and fill gaps in knowledge with regard to target species, cover species gobies, (eels and shrimps) of cultural and economic importance to local people, and indicators of ecosystem health (gobies); involve relevant government institutions and community members, and provide opportunities for capacity building in taxonomy.