Thursday, 12 March 2015

MTC students go shark viewing in the St. Anne marine park

Group photo with the MTC students, teachers, SNPA and GIF
A group of 30 students from the Maritime Training Centre (MTC) enjoyed a fun-filled day in the St. Anne marine park and on St. Anne island on Tuesday 10th March 2015 learning about one of Seychelles' oldest marine park, and viewing the coral reef found there, as well as some juvenile lemon sharks!

Students enjoying the view of the coral reef
We set off in the morning from the MTC jetty at Providence on board MTC's VIRGO II and headed straight to the Masons's sub-viewer boat in the St. Anne marine park. Once on the subsea, the students enjoyed a 45 minute spectacular underwater tour of the coral reef learning about the different types of coral species and  fishes living on the reef. 

Isabelle from SNPA giving a small presentation of the marine park
After the tour, the group was transferred to St. Anne island where the rest of the activities took place. After a delicious lunch prepared by St. Anne Resort and Spa, Isabelle Ravinia from the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) gave the students a brief presentation about the history of the marine park and about management activities carried out by SNPA like beach monitoring on the island, and the control and monitoring of the marine area.

GIF talking about sharks to the students
Thereafter Jennifer Appoo from the Green Islands Foundation explained to students the importance of sharks for a healthy ocean and a balanced food chain, different types of shark species which can be found in Seychelles and the threats they face. The students already had quite a basic knowledge on shark anatomy as this topic aligns with the Fisheries Science program they follow at MTC. Feedback from the students were positive in regards to the vision of sharks as "man eaters"- which they are not!

Afterwards, a walk along the beach allowed the students to see a couple of harmless juvenile lemon sharks cruising close to shore.

Students watching the juvenile sharks

Juvenile lemon shark cruising close to shore

They also got the chance to see other species associated to other coastal environments like rocky shores and the seagrass beds. This included mud skippers, chitons, crabs, juvenile reef fishes and coastal birds such as herons.

Students viewing different marine organisms found in seagrass beds
The activity was a success as the students not only got the chance to see actual sharks in their natural environment, and learnt about the role they play in these ecosystems, but were also able to see the diversity of organisms that coastal ecosystems supports, hence understanding the need to preserve them.

This activity was part of the national campaign GIF is running based on awareness and education of sharks funded by the UNDP GEF Small Grant's Programme and the Environment Trust Fund.

The Green Islands Foundation would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to all those who collaborated in making the activity a success. Thank you MTC school for enabling GIF to organize this activity. Thank you SNPA for always being a faithful partner in assisting GIF with these educational activities. Thank you St. Anne Resort and Spa for your warm welcome and hospitality during our short visit to St. Anne island. And lastly, thank you Mason's Travel for the subsea tour. 

1 comment:

  1. That day was the greatest day I've ever had,I have lean more about different types of marine animals and corals that live at the St. Anne marine park in the Masons's sub-viewer boat even if it was a 45 minute spectacular underwater tour.The food was fantastic,also the fun activities that we did and I would like to thank you all amazing day.