Dr David Rissik1, Dr Beth Toki1
1Bmt, Brisbane, Australia
Coral reefs are a first line of defense against coastal flooding and erosion. Coral reefs also provide other important benefits for tourism, fishing, beach preservation and habitat richness. But Seychelles’ coastlines have been challenged and altered by coastal development, environmental changes and climate change; and their vital coral reefs have been affected by recurring bleaching events. Maintaining and enhancing the existing services coral reefs provide today is a key step towards a sustainable coastal management, but also critical for reducing the impact of coastal flooding and erosion in Seychelles. Government and NGOs in Seychelles have already successfully implemented coral restoration projects. However, scaling up these small-scale successes to provide effective risk reduction to Seychelles’ coastal communities and economy requires a large-scale coordinated approach. To advance the potential case of reef restoration as a national coastal protection strategy, the World Bank and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, initiated a study to develop Strategies for Large Scale Coral Reef Restoration for Coastal Resilience in the Seychelles.
We provide an overview of the study and approach A national level assessment identified and prioritized 15 locations on the three main islands where coral restoration can be undertaken to reduce coastal risk and enhance biodiversity. In most locations, coral restoration will need to be done in conjunction with engineered options to ensure outcomes can be achieved at scales that deliver coastal protection. Up-scaling coral reef restoration to these 15 locations will be facilitated by a large-scale coral nursery, either ocean or land based. The national level assessment was informed by the priorities and planned investments in the Coastal Management Plan Seychelles 2019 – 2024.
David Rissik works at BMT Eastern Australia as Head of Business Development and Senior Principal Climate Change Adaptation. He is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University affiliated with the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the Australian Rivers Institute. He is a Non-Executive Director of Green Cross Australia. David’s interest include climate change adaptation, coastal zone management, ecology and socio-ecological systems.