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Southern Africa: World Oceans Day – Sink or Swim?

“Healthy oceans are imperative for the well-being of humankind,” explains Doreen Robinson, USAID’s Environment Team Leader for the Southern Africa. “While nearly one billion people rely on fish as their only source of protein, oceans regulate the global climate (including the rise and fall in both sea levels and temperature) and provide an economic backbone for millions of people.”

In honor of the upcoming World Oceans Day (June 8, 2013), the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) highlights the effective biodiversity conversation and livelihoods support occurring in the Indian Ocean surrounding the Seychelles Islands.

Coral reefs are among the ocean’s most biologically diverse habitats. While they are vital to survival of many marine species, they are threatened by pollution, global climate change, overfishing, and natural disasters. In October 2010, Nature Seychelles—a Seychelles based non-governmental organization (NGO)—began a project to improve the health of coral reefs in the region using a $560,000 grant from USAID. The four-year coral restoration project enables a team of marine scientists to establish more than ten nurseries where ecologically important species of coral are nurtured prior to being planted in selected areas surrounding Seychelles. With a stock of healthy coral growing in these underwater nurseries, Nature Seychelles has begun the process of replanting coral colonies into their natural habitat. In the first quarter of 2013, roughly 11,000 colonies were transplanted onto the floor of the Indian Ocean, covering more than 4,800 square meters with healthy, habitable coral. Maintaining healthy coral nurseries and colonies is an ongoing process. Nature Seychelles has overcome several challenges along the way, the most severe of which was cyclone Dumile that damaged two of the nurseries.

Read the full article from http://southafrica.usembassy.gov/world-oceans-day-sink-or-swim.html

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