The Seychelles MSP Initiative is a government- led process aimed at supporting the sustainable and long-term use and health of marine resources throughout the Seychelles EEZ. The initiative is a participatory process, bringing together multiple users of the seascape. It includes input from the major sectors such as industry, conservation, tourism and energy sectors, as well as the government, to provide guidance and direction on the allocation and use of marine resources throughout Seychelles. The process strives to reduce user conflict and to minimize the impacts of human activity on the ocean. A draft zoning design for the Seychelles’ EEZ was proposed in April 2015, as a result of a year-long stakeholder consultation, and is currently under review. The draft zoning plan incorporates current and potential future uses, and priority or ‘best area’ uses for all marine sectors and objectives. Areas of conflict and compatibility are being identified through this multi-objective planning process. The draft zoning design includes three zone types: 1. Biodiversity – No Take Areas: for high biodiversity and the protection of key habitats, species and ecological processes 2. Biodiversity – Sustainable Use: for medium biodiversity objectives. 3. Economic Use or Multiple Use Areas: to diversify economic and social uses to support economic development objectives. Biodiversity Zones 1 and 2 are being designed to meet the government’s objective of extending MPAs to cover 30 per cent of the EEZ. Enabling Conditions The process has been facilitated through regular ‘participatory’ meetings. The MSP Steering Committee meets approximately every two months to provide oversight and direction to the process. The Steering Committee is comprised of 13 members from government and parastatal agencies, non-government organizations and the private sector. Three MSP Technical Working Groups comprised of more than 30 members from the areas of marine biological diversity, terrestrial biological diversity and major sectors within the economy (fisheries, tourism, port authorities, non-renewable energy). Finally, broader stakeholder consultation takes place about three times a year with more than 100 invited participants. The MSP process started in February 2014 and 13 official meetings and workshops have been held with stakeholders in the last 14 months, leading to the development of a draft zoning design. Participants have:
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• helped to identify high priority locations for their sector • revised definitions and terminology for marine use and activities • provided advice on the zoning framework • contributed ideas on management considerations for zoning • reviewed and refined zoning scenarios and options In addition, meetings have been held with key stakeholders to discuss the process and hear their concerns, to obtain their input on the zoning design, and identify management considerations for their particular sector.