The Seychelles archipelago -- popular for its beaches and turquoise-coloured waters -- is getting more and more attention as a golf holiday destination. The island nation has two golf courses on two different islands.

One is located on the main island of Mahe, and the other on the second-most populated island of Praslin.  Both courses offer challenges for all levels of golfers.

 

The Seychelles Golf Club                         

Built almost 40 years ago on an old coconut plantation, the golf course is 4,992 yards with nine holes. It is on the located at Anse Aux Pins in the south-eastern side the main island Mahe. The golf course is only around 10 minutes from the Seychelles International Airport at Pointe Larue.  It is the only one found on Mahe and is surrounded by luxuriant green hills.

The course is open daily from 8.00 a.m. and has a clubhouse with a bar that has DSTV cable channels, a pool table, cafeteria restaurant that serves snacks, fast food and full meals, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Visitors are welcome to the club and to participate in the sponsored competitions.

Contact persons: William Weidner - Club Professional - +248 273 3021

Godefroy Andrade - Club Manager - +248 437 6234 

Website: http://www.sgc.sc/

(Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

 

The Lemuria Golf Course

The Constance Lémuria Resort boasts the only 18-hole golf course of the Indian Ocean archipelago of 115 islands which is perched on the far end of the Seychelles' second-most populated island of Praslin. The course was built in 2002 at Constance Lémuria hotel by architect Rodney Wright.

The golf course, which is described as challenging, features six holes rising up into the hills and has also won multiple World Travel Awards as Seychelles Leading Golf Resort and Indian Ocean leading Golf Resort since its opening.

With a view of the clear blue sea of the Indian Ocean, camouflaged by coconut trees, dotted with ponds and endless green meticulously kept grass, the championship course was voted as one of the 10 best 18 holes golf course in Africa by one of the world’s most popular global television networks, CNN International in 2013.

This scenic golfing paradise is considered a tough challenge for any level of golfer because of the elevated tees, water hazards and wide fairways.

The use of golf buggy is mandatory and comes with a fee. Enthusiasts can also get lesson from professionals.

 Website: https://www.constancehotels.com/en/true-experiences/golf/lemuria/

(So Seychelles/Flickr) Photo License: CC-BY 2.0

The president of Seychelles, Danny Faure, met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit this week. The two leaders discussed how to maintain friendly relations and support between the two countries, State House said in a statement.

On Monday President Faure attended the official opening of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week being held under the theme “Driving the Global Energy Transformation.”

The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is attending the World Future Energy Summit for the second time in his presidency.

The event is a global discussion on the future of renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability and is held every year as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. This year, the summit will cover burning issues and key trends in the renewable energy sector, such as the future of energy and transport in urban.

On Monday on the sidelines of the summit, the Zayed Future Energy Prize awarded millions of dollars to nine individuals, schools, companies and organisations on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability.

The president of Seychelles will return on Thursday.  

Air Seychelles, the national airline, has cancelled its flight to Mauritius for Thursday, January 18 due to tropical cyclone ‘Berguitta’, a communiqué stated.

The cancellation affects two flights: outbound HM049 and return flight HM048. The airport and the port of Mauritius were closed at 7 a.m. Wednesday until further notice.

An article from Reuters stated that Mauritius closed its port and airport on Wednesday as the "potentially dangerous tropical cyclone approached the Indian Ocean island nation.”

The alert has been raised “to class III as tropical cyclone Berguitta approached in a bid to allow at least six hours of daylight before the arrival of gusts of up to 120 km per hour. ”

Air Seychelles is advising holders of tickets on the Mauritius and Seychelles bound flights to contact their call centre by telephone on +2484391000, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the ticket holder’s travel agent. Guests will be assisted with rebooking of flights or refunds up until 23 January, 2018 at no additional cost. After January 23 terms and conditions will apply.

The airline said, “All guests who are affected by the service changes will be offered alternative travel arrangements with Air Seychelles.”

Flights scheduled for Friday, January 19, between the two island nations in the western Indian Ocean, remain unchanged until further notice. 

New measures have been put in place to ensure that Seychelles-flagged purse seiner vessels don't surpass their allocated limit of 2,555 metric tonnes of yellowfin tuna.

The measures were put in place in reference to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s Resolution 17/01 as an interim plan for rebuilding the region’s yellowfin tuna stock.

In 2016, fishing allowance of the species was reduced by 15 percent following a report of over-exploitation by the scientific committee.

To enhance the monitoring, reporting and compliance level, the Seychelles Fishing Authority and relevant parties agreed to introduce a new and simplified logbook and an improved landing declarations form.

Each vessel will have to hand over an estimate of landing declaration to the authority before proceeding on its next fishing trip. Failure to do so will result in the authority preventing the vessel from leaving port.

To encourage compliance, 30 percent of the quota will be allocated to the vessels based on good reporting and observing measures in place. Set aside, this 30 percent will be distributed in three equal portions on the first of April, July and October this year.

The joint manager of the Organisation of Associated Producers of Large Tuna Freezers (OPAGAC), Miguel Herrera, told SNA that they understand the need for Seychelles to implement such measures “to ensure compliance with the catch limitation adopted by the IOTC.”

However, Herrera said the organisation considers the specific measures might be insufficient to ensure the proper monitoring of catches and that total allowable catch (TACs) per vessel implemented by the Authority does not take into account that vessels different sizes.

“Companies that have made more investments are therefore penalised with too low TACs while other companies have been given TACs that are more in line with their investments and catch level of their vessels,” said Herrera.

Addressing last year’s situation where all Seychelles-flagged vessels, except the Spanish, spent approximately a month in port after exhausting the imposed limit on the catch, Herrera said that “the new measures implemented will not help to prevent the situation.”

“During the last year OPAGAC requested that the government of Seychelles considers the implementation of fishery closures in order to not jeopardize supply and activity in Seychelles,” he added.

Herrera told SNA that the commission should consider implementing measures other than total allowance catch for the monitoring of fisheries. He stated that good working examples are measures adopted by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.

New regulations are expected to be put in place for foreign artists who will be performing in Seychelles, though professionals in the industry feared the changes could deter artists from visiting.

The Creative Industries and National Events Agency (CINEA) said that it will be working with different authorities to draft these new procedures and regulations, including a proposed tax.

Chief executive Gaellen Bresson said that all foreign performers will now have to send an application to the agency before their upcoming performance in the islands.

“They will have to apply to us in writing and they will need to tell us why they are coming to the islands, where they will be performing, who is their local contact or agent, where they will be staying as well as providing us with their full itinerary. We will need all these details,” Bresson said.

Bresson added that if the artists are staying more than a month they will also need to do a medical test. “We will need to treat these people as we treat other expatriate workers because, at the end of the day, these artists are from a money-making industry. After all, when they come to Seychelles they are earning a living.”

Bresson said that with this new measures, the country will be able to collect more revenue from performing artists and bands as for now they are only paying for their gainful occupation permit (GOP).

He explained that this is standard in most countries. “We went to Mauritius recently and we had to pay our gainful occupation permit, we had to pay the municipality where we were performing as well as for other services such as for fees for putting up banners and posters.”

The chief executive said a tax for an international artist is the way forward. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of visiting performers. Sinach, Kenyatta Hill, Andrew Tosh, Nyanda, Charlie Black, Inner Circle,  Kymani Marley among others recently performed in Seychelles – an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

Mampi -- Zambian R&B artist performed in Seychelles in 2015 as the special guest for the Airtel music award ceremony. ( Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

SNA talked to Basil Bouchereau and Elijah who have been involved in bringing foreign performers to the island nation. Both feel that the new regulations including the new tax will have a negative impact on efforts to diversify entertainment in a country where people are thirsty for such.

“We feel that the agency should do more consultations and weigh in all the pros and cons before they implement such measures. A lot of people think that when artists come here they make a lot of money, but this is not the case, because of the size of our population. Yes they can make millions but not here,” said Bouchereau.

The promoter added that it costs to bring in these artists and this can only happen with the support of sponsors.

“We are killing the industry,” said Elijah. “We bring in these people, because we are happy to do so and because we feel we are doing something to bring in much-needed entertainment to the islands. So we keep the city alive and moreover, we give the chance to others to make a living.”

Elijah explained that with such shows people selling food, drinks and other artifacts also benefit. 

He added that the majority of Seychellois do not get the chance to see those artists when they perform because this will mean travelling, accommodation and other expenses. So these artists are brought in for the mass to enjoy.

“Even with tickets, we have to sell at a reasonable cost to attract more people, so no there is no big profit there.”

But some local performers have welcomed these new regulations like Berno Cedras owner of L’Echo band. “I think it was high time for a decision like this, these people come here they make a profit and then leave.”

Cedras said nothing is left for the country as it is only the promoter and the artist who benefit. He also thinks that a license and a tax for local artists is necessary.

“I think the industry needs to be regulated, because we make a lot of expenses with equipment and transport among others, if we pay tax it would benefit us as we can get tax returns and improve other aspects of our work.

Elijah thinks this will only benefit a few performers with contracts with tourism establishments. “For us artists, writing our songs, composing music  and trying to put gigs together, it’s a daily struggle and a tax will only add burden on us.”

Aquaculture will return to Seychelles in August with the completion of a new facility at Providence – an industrial zone – on the eastern coast of the main island of Mahe.

A top official from the Seychelles Fishing Authority, Aubrey Lesperance said aquaculture is one step towards guaranteeing food security for the island nation.

“There is currently a lot of pressure on the fisheries sector, the population is growing, visitors arrival keeps growing, demand for food keeps growing, we need to supplement what is being done. In view that agriculture cannot be done on a scale that we would want due to land constraint, this is where aquaculture comes in.”

The cabinet of ministers recently took key decisions related to Seychelles' first pilot project under the mariculture master plan.

The cabinet approved a number of national policy statements for aquaculture. The department of legal affairs is also working with the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture to prepare the legal instruments.

Mariculture is the farming of aquatic plants and animals in seawater in the open ocean, enclosed parts of the ocean or other places filled with sea water.

The government of Seychelles, an island nation where fisheries is the second- most important pillar of its economy, took the decision to venture into mariculture ten years ago.

Lesperance said that aquaculture will also ensure an adequate supply of fish on the market. 

“We know that during the south-west monsoon, the seas are rough and artisanal fishermen cannot meet the demand for fish. Aquaculture is the alternative as it is done in a controlled manner, where species we farm are monitored closely, we follow their growth until they are ready for consumption.”

Lesperance adds that through this Seychelles – a group of islands in the western Indian Ocean - is maximising the potential of the blue economy.

“We have vast areas of sea and this brings many opportunities for aquaculture especially when done in a sustainable manner.” This new sector is also expected to bring in additional revenue for the country through exportation, with potential identified Asian markets.

The broodstock, acclimation and quarantine facility which has been designed in alignment with international best-practice standards is located close to the Seychelles Fishing Authority building.

The facility is designed to ensure that mature breeding stock otherwise known as broodstock are well cared for, can adjust to captive conditions, spawn and produce good numbers of high-quality eggs, have fewer disease problems and greater longevity.

The project will start with four species of fish -- brown-marbled grouper, red emperor snapper, mangrove snapper and the snubnosed pompano from the finfish category.

Emperor red snapper -- one of the species of fish targetted for the start of the project. (Karelj, Wikipedia) Photo License: CC BY-SA 3.0
 
Mangrove snapper -- another fish species for the aquaculture project. (Clinton & Charles Robertson, Wikipedia) Photo License: CC BY 2.0

To reduce adverse effects, the broodstock will be sourced from Seychelles' waters and those needed to start the industry have to be quarantined to ensure that they are healthy and disease free.The facility will be completed in time for December – the only time until February - when the broodstock can be collected for the trial of the project cycle.

Aquaculture is not new to the Seychelles islands. In 1989, the Island Development Company (IDC) and the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB) established a prawn farm in Coetivy to produce black tiger prawns. It ceased operation in 2009.

In 1995, a black pearl oyster farm started on Praslin, the second-most populated island, producing black-lipped oyster and winged oyster for the retailed jewellery market. 

In 2016 a series of public consultations were held with the public as well as with key stakeholders with regards to the aquaculture pilot project.

The authority said that the pilot project is an important one that will provide concrete evidence on the feasibility of aquaculture in Seychelles’ waters, and it was important that all stakeholders were consulted in its implementation.

The project is being supported financially by the European Union with technical support of Advance Africa, a South African company. The second phase of the project includes the installation of the fish farms- fish cages in the sea - and the establishment of a research laboratory.

After two years of efforts, a rare white-feathered black parrot was caught and released recently, providing the Seychelles Island Foundation (SIF) with data on the unusual bird.

The bird was caught at Baie Ste Anne, one of the two districts on Praslin, the only island in Seychelles – an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean - where the black parrot can be found.  

Dubbed Snow White on social media, the bird should be brownish-grey in colour, the typical colour of the black parrot.

The foundation's senior ranger and black parrot team leader, Terrence Payet, was finally able to take a closer look at the strange bird.

“We did all the necessary tests and measurements and took blood samples so that we can finally identify if it is an albino or not,” said Payet, who adds that tests will also confirm whether it is a male or female.

The bird was kept in a cage for one night to recuperate before being released with a clean bill of health the next day.

The foundation's senior ranger and black parrot team leader, Terrence Payet, was finally able to take a closer look at the strange bird. (Seychelles Islands Foundation) Photo License: CC-BY

Albino birds are often at a disadvantage compared to typically coloured individuals of the species, because their feathers lack melanin and tend to be weaker – therefore there is the need for continuous follow-up of the bird and for running genetic tests.

According to the Marc Jean-Baptiste, manager of the Vallee de Mai - a UNESCO World Heritage site and the main habitat of the black parrot - the tests will be an eye-opener on the species which is globally classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“We hope it clears any doubt that the inhabitants of Praslin Island and other conservationists have that this was hopefully simply a glitch in nature.” 

It was a few days before Christmas day that the parrot was caught on the property of island resident Jude Monnaie.

A first-ever Seychelles black parrot of white feathers was recorded on the island of Praslin in early 2015. (Seychelles Islands Foundation) Photo License: CC-BY

Speaking to the staff of Foundation in a documented interview, Monnaie says it was his friend who first saw the bird entangled in some banana trees and unable to fly. “I think it may have been feeding on my star fruit tree and as it started to rain heavily, maybe it got trapped and it could not fly away,” he said.  

A first-ever Seychelles black parrot of white feathers was recorded on the island of Praslin in early 2015. This prompted the Seychelles Islands Foundation and its partners in November that year to launch several incentives to catch and release the immaculately white bird dubbed “snow white” on social media.

These efforts were intensified during the breeding season for the species which spans from October to March but the bird continued to elude the Foundation’s staff. Although called black parrot  - a species proudly recognised as the national bird of Seychelles - the bird is usually of a dark brownish-grey colour.

The President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will join other world leaders in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) which starts on Monday, State House said.

The summit will take place from Monday to Thursday at the Abu Dhabi national exhibition centre under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince. This year’s theme is ‘Driving the Global Energy Transformation.’

The World Future Energy Summit is a global discussion on the future of renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability and is held every year as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. This year, the summit will cover burning issues and key trends in the renewable energy sector, such as the future of energy and transport in urban environments, digitalisation and technology disruption.

Seychelles already has in place an energy policy for 2010-2030 aimed at guiding the island nation towards reducing its consumption of fossil fuels by 15 percent by the year 2030.

The small island developing state, which relies mainly on tourism and tuna fisheries to sustain its small economy, is heavily dependent on imported diesel to run generators which produce the electricity required by the country’s 93,000 inhabitants and tourism establishments.

The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, leaves the country on Sunday and will return on Thursday.

Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll became part of a region-wide tropical cyclone forecasting system late last year after its first Global Positioning System (GPS) ground station was installed.  

Fitted by a team of researchers led by Olivier Bousquet from the University of Reunion, the equipment aims at recording changes in humidity levels. The GPS ground station sends a repeated signal, and the time it takes for the signal to be received by satellites indicates the water vapour concentration in the atmosphere.

“Warmer sea surface temperatures will cause more evaporation, with more water vapour and humidity in the atmosphere, giving more fuel for the clouds to develop. Therefore, water vapour measurements are useful in predicting tropical cyclones,” said Jennifer Appoo, the assistant Aldabra science coordinator.

Aldabra, one of the world’s largest atolls, is one of Seychelles’ UNESCO World Heritage sites. Data collected from the station will help measure climate change, improve cyclone forecasting and cyclone warning systems.

Though the inner islands of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, are not prone to cyclones, the same cannot be said for the outer islands, Aldabra included. Appoo explained that cyclones do not generally form within 5 degrees latitude of the equator but Aldabra and several other outer islands are significantly far south so that they are on the edge of the cyclone belt.

She added this was “evidenced by cyclone Fantala which devastated Farquhar in 2016.”

Fantalathe strongest tropical cyclone to form in the southwest Indian Ocean in recent years, hit Farquhar -- an outer island of Seychelles -- twice in April 2016 causing $4.5 million in damages and losses. 

Extensive damages to the buildings and trees on Farquhar were caused by cyclone Fantala that hit the island mid-April 2016. (www.idc.sc)  Photo License: All Rights Reserved

Appoo told SNA via email that “all climate models predict an increase in sea surface temperature over the next few decades. Consequently, researchers expect a significant increase in the number of very intense tropical cyclones as well as variations in the cyclone belt itself.”

“An unusual number of very intense tropical cyclones have already been observed in the last four years in the South Western Indian Ocean (SWIO),” said Appoo.

She added that the equipment installed on Aldabra aims to record these changes and reinforces the observational capabilities in this region of the Indian Ocean.

As the equipment installed on Aldabra does not require a lot of ground management, it will be remotely managed by Météo-France & Laboratoire de L'Atmosphère et des Cyclones through the University of Reunion. The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) which manages the atoll is responsible for the equipment.

According to the newsletter of the Foundation, the GPS station is part of a project called the ‘ReNovRisk-Cyclones’. “The main goal of the project is to study the meteorological and oceanographic impacts of cyclones on the territories of the South West Indian Ocean at present and in the future,” read the newsletter.

There are plans to install the equipment on Mahe, the main island, which will be managed by the Seychelles Meteorological Authority. Other than in Seychelles, similar GPS stations already exist on Reunion, a French Department in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar, the Comoros and Mauritius. The three-year European Union funded project is costing approximately $2.4 million.

Further data will be collected from seabirds tagged with temperature sensors. These sensors record the sea surface temperature as the birds come into contact with the surface of the water when they forage at sea.

Seychelles in May will become the first African country to host the Fédération Internationale de Natation's open water swimming competition. The event will be held at Beau Vallon beach, a popular beach on the northern side of the main island of Mahe.

Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports, and Marine, whose ministry is co-organizing the event, said the event will bring added revenue. 

“With its calm waters, it is considered as a place to swim throughout the year,” he said, explaining that Beau Vallon has several hotels close to the beach, therefore, attracting more onlookers.

The “Fédération Internationale de Natation” was founded in London in 1908, during the Olympic Games, and one of its objectives is to promote and encourage the development of aquatics around the world. 

The open water swimming competition is a series of 10 km races in outdoor water bodies like oceans and lakes held annually since 2007. Points are awarded for each race in the series, with the points being added together for an overall winner

Elite swimmers from different countries will be in Seychelles for the event alongside Seychellois swimmers. 

“The event bodes well with the Seychelles touristic image and at the same time we want Seychellois swimmers to benefit from a sport that we have had a lot of success in,” said Loustau-Lalanne.

From now on it is expected that Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, will host a series of the competition every year for the next four years.

Participants at the event will have to follow strict international standards: swimmers must wear a non-transparent swimwear along with the cap and goggles which should not display offensive language or symbols.

A member of the local steering committee, David Vidot, who is also the chair of the Seychelles Swimming Association said the cost to organise the event will amount to almost $358, 000 (SCR 5 million).

“We want the event to have a social impact on the community as we urge school children to take part. There will be a shorter distance for those who are not capable of swimming longer distance.”

Vidot is also encouraging members of the public to come and enjoy the competition adding that “designated areas will be marked for sitting facilities for spectators.”  Registration details and fees for the “Fédération Internationale de Natation”- Open Water World Cup Series will be announced later.

The winner of the last competition was Italian long distance swimming specialist Simone Ruffini.

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