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Victoria, September 4, 2020 – On March 26th, 2020, Seychelles declared 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as marine protection areas. It includes five High Biodiversity Protection Areas totalling 203,071 km2 including the Aldabra Group National Park, Bird Island National Park, D’Arros Atoll National Park, D’Arros Atoll to Poivre Atolls National Park and Amirates South National Park. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement caught the attention of the world including leading impact investor Jida Bittner.

Jida Bittner, who invests in and contributes to environmental and social sustainability initiatives worldwide, was immediately impressed when she heard of the ambition of Seychelles’ engagement, “To address the unprecedented pressure that our oceans are facing we urgently need commitment such as this one to protect and sustainably manage marine biodiversity at scale. Compared to terrestrial protected areas, marine conservation often does not yet receive the attention it deserves, so I am all the more excited to help put this ambitious initiative into practice.”

Jida Bittner offered to finance a consultancy for the development of a strategic management framework to cater for these high biodiversity marine protection areas. The consultancy will produce a robust strategic framework to form the basis for the development and implementation of management plans. This is one of a series of steps to full implementation which is set to commence in 2021.

Minister Wallace Cosgrow, Minister responsible for environment, energy and climate change, expressed his gratitude for the donation, “Protecting 30% of our EEZ is an ambitious commitment by our island nation but we are certain that with the support from partners and in this instance new donors, we will deliver on an impactful system of marine protection areas.”

The Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation (SeyCCAT) secured and facilitated the donation with technical support from the Ministry for Environment and The Nature Conservancy. SeyCCAT continues to dedicate its efforts to mobilizing resources to support Seychelles’ marine spatial plan initiative through which the new marine protection areas were identified.