This year saw the 4th annual Seychelles Sea Turtle Festival (SSTF) take place in Beau Vallon on the north of Mahé. The festival sees a collaborative effort, created by a group of like-minded individuals, with various research and conservation organisations in Seychelles coming together to help raise awareness of these fantastic creatures that can be found in waters around the islands and the importance of their conservation.
It was a jam packed day, with various stalls and forms of entertainment along the seafront. Our stall had prime position next to the DJ so we excitedly set up our activities ready for the day ahead. This year, we had turtle shaped cookie decorating, thanks to the pastry chefs at Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, as well as an arts and crafts corner, including a big collage of a reef scape, a face painting station and our team of Marine Educators on hand to answer queries and spread the word on the importance of looking after our turtle populations!
Throughout the day our stall was busy with adults and children alike who loved getting involved in all the things we had on offer. The whole team (WiseOceans and Four Seasons) got stuck in to help cover little (and some big!) faces in glittery turtles and lavish bright green meringue turtles with colourful icing and sprinkles.
It was a great opportunity to network with people from other organisations carrying out conservation work in Seychelles. We are all working towards a sustainable future for our beautiful, biodiverse surroundings, so it’s great to meet people just as passionate about our marine environment as we are.
Sea turtles are what brought us all together for this great event. Five different species of sea turtle can be found in the waters of Seychelles; two of which nest on the islands’ beaches. Green and Hawksbill turtles are encountered regularly throughout the waters surrounding the islands and are listed as endangered and critically endangered, respectively, the islands being important nesting grounds for these species. In the past, turtles were hunted extensively for their meat and shells. Fortunately, since 1994 turtles have been afforded full protection under Seychelles law, meaning it is illegal to hunt, kill, possess or eat turtle. Sadly, even with protection in place, sea turtle populations continue to be under threat in Seychelles and the world’s oceans, facing threats including pollution and coastal development. Now, more than ever, these majestic creatures require our support if they are to continue calling the world’s oceans their home.