After four long weeks today is my last day here on Cerf Island. It was a challenging task but it has been a different adventure from my own perspective to what I was expecting. In these past weeks I have learned about the coral reefs here on Cerf, their genus and their family and I have also encountered different marine species.
In the beginning I was overwhelmed because the names were new to me but in time I understood and started to enjoy the ocean more now that I have new information about the different corals. I also learned about the different butterfly and angel fish found all around the inner islands of Seychelles. They are mostly colorful creatures but there were also further unpredictable approaches from other creatures. For example I saw lemon shark pups occasionally in the shallow parts of the reef, they are adorable. I also encountered many feather tailed rays and once a sting ray beautiful flawless cartilaginous marine organisms. Not to forget the diverse variety of corals found on the Cerf reef. Every day we would go out and have a snorkeling session (which is great if you’re a fanatic and an ocean lover), I participated in the construction of the coral nurseries and artificial reef projects. They are still a work in progress as it will take a while before we see the results but in time we will find the greatness in this smart project.
Mainly CICP is focused on re building the reefs and making it healthier which is important since the Cerf reefs have been under the influence of the several EL NINO events, the Tsunami a few years back, and many negative human impacts (such as boating, illegal fishing, anchoring, etc…). Our economy not only depends on tourists but on the ocean as well this is one of the reasons why people go through great lengths to come and visit our diverse oceans and to explore and savour its natural beauty. So to be fair in order to keep a balanced and eco friendly environment for both human activities and marine life we must stop our bad habits and help protect and preserve our oceans not only for this generation but for our great grand children as well.
My name is Vanessa and I am a student at the Seychelles Maritime Academy formerly known as Maritime Training Centre. I have been studying Fisheries Biology this past year at SMA and I will be spending four exciting weeks as part of a work attachment with MCSS/CICP.
In the past I have been involved in some marine related activities before attending SMA such as in 2012 I participated in the Academy by the sea accredited by MCSS, The Subios festival as well as the Sea Turtle Festival. Since starting SMA i have gained knowledge and skills in both theory and practice. The classes are direct but its the attachment that makes the huge difference.
My first attachment was with the Seychelles Fishing Authority in the enforcement field where we would patrol, monitor and investigate both foreign and local vessels; it was thrilling. In November last year I was with GVI with my collegue Oneal Tamboo for a month on Curieuse mostly focusing on sea turtle monitoring everyday on the different beaches, and twice a week we had juvenile sicklefin shark tagging either early morning or dusk depending on the tide and the weather. This was a month of communal living with different nationalities aging from 18 to 40 so you can imagine the challenges but it was a memorable end of year experience. Not to forget the end of week barbecues every Friday night. Curieuse was an enchanting paradise.
At the start of this year i was re located for attachment and this time in the hands of the Indian Ocean Tuna laboratories for four long weeks. Not being able to participate in many activities because this was no game but a serious organization with an incredible and reputable name being the largest tuna factory in the southern hemisphere. They have high standards to comply with but on the bright side I met many new people from different countries. The attachment was extended and I decided it was time to move forward and find new experiences and I remembered I had applied to work at another organisation the year before. I have been with Socomep ever since but only during the weekends I attend school during the week. The work there is quite simple, to tally and monitor the unloading of tuna from tuna vessels. The most exciting part is that I work with a difficult but underestimated work force. I have met many people from different organisations and i have worked with Korean, French and Spanish vessels! This field is so vast with many ripe opportunities which is just waiting to be filled. It is a really vigorous field to be related to especially for a girl.
Unfortunately this is my last attachment and I am spending four weeks here with the MCSS crew on Cerf Island. It is quite a sight for sore eyes. MCSS is one of the many NGO in Seychelles which contributes to the restoration and conservation of marine life in our small island state. The marine life here is slowly flourishing despite the turn of events in the past such as the coral bleaching and the tsunami that destroyed many features in our coral reefs. MCSS is putting a reasonable amount of time and effort as they focus on the reefs around Cerf Island. So far I have been learning some different coral species found in the snorkeling areas on Cerf Island as there are three main sites where we take clients on a daily basis. I have also been taught the names of the different butterfly fish and Angel fish found in the coral reefs. Slowly but surely I will master these facts.
This may seem the end for attachment but it is only the beginning for a better future for our diverse ocean. At the end of my month here it will be great to remember the fun facts that i am learning and to maybe one day put it in practice and work with MCSS or any other NGO for that matter.
To sum up I have gained knowledge and skills in different fields and maybe after school conservation may or may not be the direct approach for me to start working with but for sure a university degree does not sound that bad if I want to move forward in this field. Knowledge is power. To the young generation growing it is important for you to think about our ocean though we pollute the environment daily it is not right instead of pointing fingers to who started these vile rituals to destroy our oceans for capital lets find sustainable ways to protect our oceans for the future.