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INDIAN OCEAN - Seychelles Activities

National Beach Monitoring Programme

At a workshop at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Hotel, Mahe, Seychelles, on 21st July 2003 the National Beach Monitoring Programme was launched by the Environment Minister, Mr. Ronny Jumeau. Through this programme, the Coastal Zone Unit of the Ministry of the Environment has enlisted the support of several hotels and other government agencies to assist them in monitoring beach changes on a regular basis.

During the opening ceremony, the beach monitoring equipment was handed over to Mr. Jumeau by Mr. Bernard Shamlaye, Secretary-General to the UNESCO National Commission in Seychelles. This equipment had been purchased as part of the Small Islands Voice project.

Mr. Bernard Shamlaye (standing right) presenting beach monitoring equipment to Mr. Ronnie Jumeau, Minister of the Environment (standing left), 21.07.03

The beach monitoring programme utilizes a simple methodology developed within the framework of a Caribbean island initiative - 'Managing beach resources and planning for coastline change' (COSALC) - sponsored by the Coasts and Small Islands Unit (CSI) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Within the framework of this programme, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, school students, volunteers and interested individuals in 13 island territories/states in the eastern Caribbean have been measuring their beach changes since 1985. They have established an extensive database, which is allowing the islands to manage their beaches and mitigate against beach erosion in an effective manner.

Representatives from Seychelles Ministry of the Environment participated in inter-regional workshops, sponsored by UNESCO-CSI and held in Samoa in 2000 and Dominica in 2001, during which beach monitoring methods were among the topics discussed. Following this interaction, a request was made by the Ministry of the Environment to obtain equipment for beach monitoring within the broad framework of UNESCO's Small Islands Voice project - an initiative which seeks, among other things, to promote inter-regional exchange between small islands. Funding was received and the equipment was purchased early in 2003.

A pilot group of hotels will undertake the monitoring in the first instance:

  • Mahe: Coral Strand, Le Meridien Barbarons, Northolme, Plantation Club,
  • Praslin: Marechiaro, Praslin Beach, Lemuria Hotel.

The participating hotels will collect data for their respective beaches and send the information to a national beach profile database. The analysed information will be available for the hotels to effectively manage the beaches in front of their properties. Government agencies will also take part in the monitoring, including the Ministry of Environment's Coastal Zone Unit and the Pollution Control and Environmental

Assessment Division, Seychelles Centre for Marine Research and Technology, Marine Parks Authority, Solid Waste and Cleaning Agency.

Mr. Jumeau urged other hotels to participate in the programme, for the problem of beach erosion could not be isolated - 'what is the use of one hotel managing the beach in front of it efficiently and scientifically, if the next one just down the coast is hacking away all the patatran and other coastal vegetation on the pretext of giving its guests a better view, only to end up giving everyone along the coast an environmental migraine.'

The morning session of the workshop saw several presentations on the issue of beaches, beach erosion and the monitoring programme by staff from the Coastal Zone Management Unit as well as from visiting consultant Dr. Gillian Cambers from the University of Puerto Rico. The afternoon session comprised a field training session on Beau Vallon Beach for all participants on the monitoring method to be used during the programme.

Practising beach monitoring during the Seychelles National Beach Monitoring Training Workshop, 21st July 2003

The workshop received extensive media coverage and articles in the local press included: 'Hotels in the thick of action' and 'Workshop provides practical know-how'


To get involved, contact :


National Co-ordinators
Mr Rolph Payet and Mr Alain De Comarmond
Ministry of Environment
PO Box 677, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
Tel: + 248 224 644
Fax: 248 322 945


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