The second project by the Green Islands Foundation, “Marine Biodiversity baseline assessment around Fregate Island, the eastern most Seychelles ‘Inner’ granitic island, seeks to collect data for an initial assessment of the coral reef assemblage and associated marine species, and assess trends over time by establishing a long-term marine monitoring program on Fregate Island comparable to the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) assessments and outcomes of the national program of marine monitoring standardized by BERI.

The project started mid 2019 and marine surveys have taken place in both 2019 and 2020 with the last marine survey supervised by the SeyCCAT Secretariat.

How many surveys?

GIF’s ongoing marine survey of marine biodiversity around Fregate Island continues, although temporarily paused during the closure of the Fregate Island Private. Following marine surveys in both 2019 and 2020, the GIF team has conducted a total of 107  surveys. 

  • Undertook 24 fish surveys 
  • Undertook 28 benthic surveys,
  • Undertook 44 coral recruit surveys
  • Undertook 11 surveys for invertebrates

 

What did they find?

 

The benthos layer of Fregate – the benthos is comprised of all the organism that live at the bottom of a body of water; and is thus, the lowest layer of the sea.  GIF has surveyed a total length of 280 metres and below the pie chart shows the percentage cover of different benthic categories.

Percentage cover of different benthic categories.

 

Corals 

Corals are important to Fregate Island and they have undertaken coral reef restoration efforts. There is great variety to the coral cover around Fregate with some faring better than others. The team has surveyed a total area of 44 m2  and recorded 30 coral genera.

Percentage cover of the coral genera against total coral cover

Mean coral recruit density (number of colonies/m2)

Fish

Having surveyed 6000 m2, GIF recorded 15 families of fish out of the 17 it was targeting.

 

Percentage of each fish functional group against the total targeted fish number

Mean fish density (number of individuals in 100 m2) for each target fish group (species, subfamily or family)

Invertebrates 

The surveys for invertebrates covered a total area of 2750 m2.

Mean invertebrates density (number of individuals in 100 m2) for each target invertebrates group

 

The marine surveys were disrupted by COVID-19 but this will now continue with the lifting of restriction of movement.