2011 was a trying year for many tourist destinations. Climate change phenomena arrived in never-before-seen patterns in behavior both beneath the waves and on land. Meanwhile, Seychelles and the neighboring islands of Mauritius and La Reunion were not spared and saw unusual behavior in their shark populations.
For the Seychelles, it brought about a review of the country’s emergency response plans, and advice from South African experts was sought while the government of Seychelles remained focused, concerning the need to protect the islands’ long-standing safety label.
In the interests of further ensuring the safety of swimmers in certain areas of Praslin, the government has announced that 90 percent of the recommendations of the experts from KwaZulu-Natal brought in to advise on various aspects of marine security have now been adopted and an emergency response plan is now in place.
The government of Seychelles also sought the assistance of specialists and lifeguards from Australia through their High Commissioner, Mrs. Sandra Vegting. They are assisting the Seychelles lifeguards through a new intense training program.
With this now in place, beaches on Praslin, closed since the unfortunate, twin shark attacks of mid-2011, have now been re-opened, and all restrictions imposed after the attacks removed.
Advisory signs are now in place on Praslin beaches, and a set of safety guidelines has been drawn up that provides advice for swimmers and snorkelers, fishermen and scuba divers.
With a long history of safe swimming in Seychelles, the ZwaZulu Natal experts were brought in after two extremely rare shark attacks off Praslin’s Anse Lazio forced a reconsideration of time-honored, relaxed swimming practices.
“Seychelles waters have long enjoyed a well-justified reputation for safety,” commented, Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, “but we need to move with the times, and in our modern world of climate change and associated phenomena, we must not rest on our laurels but rather take every step to make sure that safe swimming continues to be a characteristic of a Seychelles holiday.”