President delivers speech underwater
The Seychelles president has gone below the surface of the Indian Ocean to call for better protection for the world’s seas.
Danny Faure said that a healthy ocean was “crucial for the survival of humanity” in a broadcast made 124m (406ft) below sea level.
He had joined a British-led expedition exploring the ocean’s depths.
Last year, the Seychelles created protected areas of the ocean that were “the size of Great Britain”.
During the live broadcast, Mr Faure could be seen in the submersible wearing a Seychelles T-shirt.
He told viewers that the ocean was “the beating blue heart of our planet” and said that it was “under threat like never before”.
“We have managed to seriously impact this environment through climate change. I can see the incredible wildlife that needs protection. Over the years we have created these problems, we must solve them and we must solve them together.”
The broadcast was part of an expedition by Nekton Mission. The mission will explore deep sections of the waters surrounding the Seychelles.
The goal is to gain public support for the country to protect 30 per cent of its national waters by 2020.
It will then explore other areas of the Indian Ocean ahead of a summit in Oxford in 2022.
In February 2018, the Seychelles protected 210,000 sq km (81,000 sq miles) of ocean in exchange for getting some of its national debt paid off.
The reserves limit tourism and fishing activities in the country to halt further damage to aquatic life. It was the first debt swap designed to protect ocean areas in the world.
According to the UN, only 16 per cent of marine waters under national jurisdiction are covered by protected areas.
The Seychelles aims to protect 30 per cent of its ocean space by next year.
Oceans are one of the seven main themes of this year’s UN climate summit in Chile in December.
Small island nations like the Seychelles are among the most vulnerable to the rise in sea levels caused by climate change. –BBC