Understand the opportunities of the so-called Blue Economy in Seychelles
Summary: Seychelles, a biodiverse island nation, stands as a leading example of implementing the Blue Economy. This approach involves using ocean resources sustainably to drive economic growth, diversify the economy, and address environmental issues. Seychelles’ strategies encompass areas like aquaculture, renewable energy, and waste management, demonstrating a comprehensive, sustainable development model.
Located in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands, is a model of the Blue Economy in action. This concept, introduced by Gunter Pauli, focuses on using the ocean’s resources innovatively and sustainably, transforming scarcity into abundance while addressing environmental challenges.
Seychelles has embedded sustainability, the heart of the Blue Economy, in its national policies. The country established the Department of the Blue Economy in 2015 to manage its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) responsibly. This approach ensures that any business activity within the EEZ aligns with Seychelles’ Marine Spatial Plan, reflecting the sustainable use of marine resources.
To make the most of its ocean, spanning 1.358 million square kilometers, Seychelles has developed a comprehensive Blue Economy roadmap. It includes various sectors, such as oil exploration, sustainable fisheries, eco-tourism, and most notably, aquaculture.
Aquaculture, or mariculture, is a specialized sector focusing on the cultivation of marine organisms in seawater. As global population growth outstrips traditional land resources, the oceans are seen as a new frontier for meeting human needs. Accordingly, sectors like aquaculture, marine biotechnology, and marine renewable energy are emerging and expanding rapidly in Seychelles.
To guide this growth, Seychelles has formulated a Mariculture Master Plan (MMP). This plan aims to foster a sustainable marine aquaculture sector that respects the unique, sensitive nature of the marine environment while being integrated into the country’s broader economic vision.
Seychelles is also addressing its energy needs by tapping into renewable sources. Investing in renewable energy can reduce dependence on imported oil, provide cleaner energy, and ensure a more secure energy supply. Among the options considered are offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), with a pre-feasibility study identifying a potential site for an OTEC plant, a clean energy source.
Lastly, Seychelles is turning its attention to waste management. Rapid economic development has led to increased waste production, and the government aims to establish creative recycling industries to alleviate this burden. These industries will help reduce waste and improve overall waste management practices.
In essence, Seychelles is leveraging the Blue Economy to create a sustainable, diversified economic landscape that respects and protects its unique marine environment. This approach offers a valuable lesson in balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship.
What are the Opportunities for investors?
- Aquaculture/Mariculture: The government initiative to develop a marine aquaculture sector offers investment opportunities. The cultivation of various marine species, including fin fish, sea cucumber, mud crabs, prawns, oysters, and sea urchins, has been identified for aquaculture in Seychelles.
- Renewable Energy: Seychelles is keen on reducing dependence on imported oil and enhancing its energy security. Thus, investment in various renewable energy sources such as offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) could be profitable. Particularly, a pre-feasibility study has highlighted OTEC as a potential clean energy source, suggesting Seychelles’ readiness for such an undertaking.
- Recycled Industries: With the increasing amount of waste produced by Seychelles’ economic development, there is a need for creative recycling industries. These industries aim to reduce waste and improve overall waste management practices. Investors in this sector can contribute to solving an environmental issue while also capitalizing on a growing market need.
- Oil Exploration, Sustainable Fisheries, and Eco-Tourism: The Blue Economy roadmap of Seychelles includes these sectors as well. While the article doesn’t discuss these in detail, investors interested in sustainable exploitation of natural resources might find opportunities here. For instance, sustainable fisheries and eco-tourism align with both the country’s economic and environmental goals, presenting potentially profitable and sustainable ventures.
These opportunities reflect Seychelles’ efforts to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability, providing potential investors with numerous avenues to contribute to and benefit from the nation’s Blue Economy approach.