Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests, all protocol observed, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening,
Despite my presence not being a physical one due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, I am very honoured to be part of such a prestigious event.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in Seychelles, our vast oceans provide us with peace and tranquillity. An aspect that we, as Seychellois, pride ourselves on. However, in our ocean lies the demise, which any coastal country is faced with.
Unlawful activities have been part of our history since the beginning of times. Our islands are pristine with many endemic species threatened by poaching. On a regular basis we attempt to save the lives of our green turtles which are currently endangered. Our fishermen take sacrifices to go out at sea to feed the nation. Their safety has been compromised over the years with the increase of illegal fishing and piracy in the Indian Ocean waters. This year alone our Supreme Court had put to trial five pirates for their involvement in capturing Yemeni dhow off the coast of Somalia.
Our waters have been used to cause our country great agony. In 2016, we experienced the largest drug bust in the Seychelles’ history when a vessel was apprehended with a total of 150 kilos of illegal drugs. To this day, many families are suffering as a result of our pride being used in such a manner. We have been detaining many vessels over the years for illegally fishing in our waters, a recent example being in March of this year.
We have been desperate to tackle these actions in order to preserve our azure waters. Our Blue Economy ventures have taken a front row seat in many of our tasks as a nation. It has become crucial for us to move forward sustainably so as to ensure our children can enjoy our waters with the same contentment as we and as our parents before us.
With these challenges in mind, the Seychelles Government fully backs any project that will enable us to supervise our oceans whilst allowing us to learn more about our maritime secrets. To our citizens, it represents what our young workforce can achieve if they are given the chance to exploit their intellects. To our fishermen, it provides a sense of security knowing that their daily sacrifices is of significance. To our small nation, it represents a way forward with a chance to better tackle many of the illegal actions that our country faces in relation to our oceans.
Nothing brings more joy than supporting my fellow country mates in their endeavours.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I present to you, from the Seychelles Islands, Project BluEyes by Wonderweiss.