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The Seychelles - A Paradise on the Verge of Collapse

Five Indo-Pacific permit (Trachinotus blochii) in two days as well as three more lost from one of the main islands of the Seychelles sounds fantastic, and it indeed is. About 3 kg is the maximum weight you can expect there, and one of the five was quite close. Besides the catch of the Pompanos, the fishing from the flats and banks was very, very poor. I have not seen any bonefish on the flats of Mahe and Praslin and I know those islands quite a bit. There might still be a few of them left, but in general the fly fishing has gone down dramatically compared to my former trips to the islands in 2008 and 2011. I have not seen any fly fishers anymore. Covid cut the people from the Seychelles off from their incomes and this forced them to eat fish and fruit bats. We saw far less fruit bats this time, as they are a traditional local food source, too . I think except the coral fish, shark and rays all larger fish have been commercially fished to feed the people and tourists. Meanwhile they have been starting to target parrot fish to feed the tourists. Parrot fish are important for cleaning the reefs and keep them alive. Without a commercial fishing ban in a 1-2 km zone around the islands, the Seyhelles will loose everything that makes the islands unique.

The huge amount of tourists that we met there this time (3 times as many as in 2008) was not what we had expected and several huge hotels are about to open. This will lead to catastrophic consequences for the nature of these islands that have already suffered because of COVID. In the three years after COVID the doors have been opened to investors and many hotels were allowed to be built. It is hard to imagine how the corals should survive the amount of waste water the rising crowds of tourists will produce in the future. La Digue is already totally overrun. There is no joy there anymore. Lots of corals have died already and many more are bleaching at the moment. The anchors of the rising amount of catamarans and tourist vessels that stay in the bays overnight will do the rest. We still met a good variety of coral fish but their environment has changed. I managed to find the big Bumperhead Parrotfish again about 1 km from the spot I met them in 2012. This was amazing as the bull was for sure about 40-50 kg.

My wife and I used to enjoy the pristine beaches but you have to swim or have your own boat to find a spot without tourists now. The formerly lonesome and gorgeous beaches will soon turn into sardine beaches like those in Spain or Italy as they are small and the rising sea levels are eroding the banks, too. Instead of keeping the tourist numbers low, money rules on the Seychelles now.

A fragile paradise is going to get lost! A truely sad story!


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Copyright © Günter Feuerstein