Marine and Coastal Resources Governance

Seychelles has established standards to manage the coastal resources and environmental quality by implementing several domestic and international laws. 

Domestic Laws and Regulations

Maritime Zones Act, 2000

The Act seeks to provide for the determination of the Maritime Zones of Seychelles in accordance with the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, 1982.

Maritime Zones (Marine Pollution) Regulations, 1981

These regulations enacted, under the previous Act, provide for the protection and the preservation of the marine environment and the prevention and control of marine pollution. The regulations prohibit the discharge of any oil or oily mixture into the territorial waters of the Seychelles from any vessel, any place on land and any apparatus used for transferring oil from or to a vessel. The regulations impose a duty to report discharges to the Harbor Master. Pollution control officers may be appointed by the Minister and are given extensive powers to carry out their duties in pursuance of the regulations.

Harbor Act, 1932 & Harbor Regulations, 1933

The Harbor Act and Regulations seek to regulate shipping activities and to exercise a degree of control over vessels in Victoria Harbor. The regulations establish rules of safety to prevent spillage and pollution from vessels having on board petroleum as cargo, particularly when unloading petroleum.

Merchant Shipping Act, 2014

This Act makes provision with respect to ownership, registration, licensing and marking of ships in Seychelles and to a wide variety of matters relating to navigation in Seychelles waters and by Seychelles ships. It also concerns transportation of various goods (including grains in bulk, oil and dangerous goods) and marine pollution.

Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response) Regulations, 2001

The regulations seek to give effect to the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response (OPRC), the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC), 1992 and the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution (FUNDS), 1992.

The Environmental Protection Act, 1994

The Act provides for the coordination, implementation and enforcement of policies pursuant to the national objectives on environment protection whilst prohibiting the discharge of any effluent, or throwing, depositing or placing any polluting, or hazardous substance or waste in any watercourse or in the territorial waters without authorization.

Seychelles Blue Economy Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap: Charting the Future (2018-2030)

The Government of Seychelles approved the Blue Economy Strategic Framework and Roadmap (the Blue Economy Roadmap) on 31st January 2018, which is an integrated approach to ocean based sustainable development which brings together economy, environment and society, consistent with the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (SDG’s), Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015).

It articulates Seychelles’ “Blue Economy Brand” as a unique comparative advantage based on sustainability credentials, builds on Seychelles’ national and international legal and policy frameworks, successful flagship initiatives such as marine spatial planning and innovative finance and puts forward a prioritized agenda for action & investment to 2030.

International Laws and Agreements to which Seychelles is Party

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982)

Popularly known as UNCLOS, the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, this international agreement defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.

Agreement between the Government of the French Republic and the Government of the Republic of Seychelles concerning Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of France and of Seychelles, 19 February 2001

The agreement is on the delimitation line between the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of the French Republic (around the territory of île de la Grande Glorieuse and île du Lys) and the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of the Republic of Seychelles (Assumption Island and Astove Island).

Treaty Concerning the Joint Exercise of Sovereign Rights over the Continental Shelf in the Mascarene Plateau

This Agreement states that both Seychelles and Mauritius shall exercise sovereign rights jointly for the purpose of exploring the continental shelf and exploiting its natural resources.

International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) 13 May 1995

Under this Convention, Seychelles is required to establish measures for dealing with pollution incidents, either nationally or in co-operation with other countries. Ships are required to carry a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan. Operators of offshore units under the jurisdiction of Parties are also required to have oil pollution emergency plans or similar arrangements which must be coordinated with national systems for responding promptly and effectively to oil pollution incidents. Ships are also required to report incidents of pollution to coastal authorities and the convention details the actions that are then to be taken.

International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 30 May 1996

The ensures adequate compensation is available to persons who suffer oil pollution damage resulting from maritime casualties involving oil-carrying ships. The Convention applies to all seagoing vessels carrying oil in bulk as cargo. The Convention places the liability for such damage on the owner of the ship from which the polluting oil escaped or was discharged. The Convention requires ships covered by it to maintain insurance or other financial security in sums equivalent to the owner’s total liability for one incident.

International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (FUND) 30 May 1996

The purposes of the Fund Convention are: to provide compensation for pollution damage to the extent that the protection afforded by the 1969 Civil Liability Convention is inadequate; to give relief to shipowners in respect of the additional financial burden imposed on them by the 1969 Civil Liability Convention, such relief being subject to conditions designed to ensure compliance with safety at sea and other conventions.

The United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (in force as from 11 December 2001)

This Agreement sets out principles for the conservation and management of those fish stocks and establishes that such management must be based on the precautionary approach and the best available scientific information. The Agreement elaborates on the fundamental principle, established in the Convention, that States should cooperate to ensure conservation and promote the objective of the optimum utilization of fisheries resources both within and beyond the exclusive economic zone.

The Agreement attempts to achieve this objective by providing a framework for cooperation in the conservation and management of those resources. It promotes good order in the oceans through the effective management and conservation of high seas resources by establishing, among other things, detailed minimum international standards for the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks; ensuring that measures taken for the conservation and management of those stocks in areas under national jurisdiction and in the adjacent high seas are compatible and coherent; ensuring that there are effective mechanisms for compliance and enforcement of those measures on the high seas; and recognizing the special requirements of developing States in relation to conservation and management as well as the development and participation in fisheries for the straddling and highly migratory fish stocks.

Convention on the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The convention has established the organization whose purpose is “to provide machinery for cooperation among Governments in the field of governmental regulation and practices relating to technical matters of all kinds affecting shipping engaged in international trade; to encourage and facilitate the general adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety, efficiency of navigation and prevention and control of marine pollution from ships”.

International Convention for Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

MARPOL is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations – and currently includes six technical Annexes. Special Areas with strict controls on operational discharges are included in most Annexes.

Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter

This Convention contributes to the international control and prevention of marine pollution by prohibiting the dumping of certain hazardous materials. In addition, a special permit is required prior to dumping of several identified materials and a general permit for other wastes or matter. Rather than stating which materials may not be dumped, it prohibits all dumping, except for possibly acceptable wastes on the so-called “reverse list”, contained in an annex to the Protocol.

Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes, 1992

The Basel Convention aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects resulting from the generation, transboundary movements and management of hazardous wastes and other wastes. The Basel Convention regulates the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes and obliges its Parties to ensure that such wastes are managed and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Parties also have an obligation to minimize the quantities that are transported, to treat and dispose of wastes as close as possible to their place of generation and to prevent or minimize the generation of wastes at source.

International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974

The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety. Flag States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with its requirements, and several certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof that this has been done. Control provisions also allow Contracting Governments to inspect ships of other Contracting States if there are clear grounds for believing that the ship and its equipment do not substantially comply with the requirements of the Convention – this procedure is known as port State control.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992)

The Convention aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.” It states that “such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Convention on Biological Biodiversity (1992)

This Convention supports Tanzania to conserve biological diversity, promote the sustainable use of its components, and encourage equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Such equitable sharing includes appropriate access to genetic resources, as well as appropriate transfer of technology, considering existing rights over such resources and such technology.

The Convention places a duty on States Parties to conserve biological diversity within their jurisdiction, as well as outside their jurisdiction in certain cases (art. 4); requires States to cooperate in preserving biological diversity in areas out of national jurisdiction (art. 5);  conferring responsibility on States Parties for the formulation and implementation of strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity (art. 6).

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

One of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted is Goal 14: Life below water, which aims to sustainably manage, use and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. Learn more about SDG 14: Life below Water.

Marine Protected Areas

Target 5 of the SDG 14 aims to conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information by 2020. Nairobi Convention is supporting Seychelles meet the obligations under SDG Targets 14.2 and 14.5 and Aichi Target 11, besides other SDGs by publishing the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Outlook for the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region.

Seychelles has made astounding progress towards increasing the total coverage of Marine Protected Areas. The current 16 MPAs protect a staggering 26.4% of its EEZ, meaning the Seychelles has surpassed its commitment to achieving SDG 14.5. Find out more about the Marine Protected Areas in Seychelles at the Nairobi Convention Dashboard here.