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Workshop provides practical know-how

The Ministry of the Environment's beach monitoring programme (see lead story) got underway yesterday with a workshop aimed at educating participants on the basics of beach monitoring.

The workshop, hosted by the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Hotel, was designed to better instruct representatives from the ministry, hotels and other organisations, such as the Solid Waste and Cleaning Agency (SWAC) on beach monitoring and management practices.

Environment minister Ronny Jumeau officially opened the workshop, followed by a short ceremony in which Bernard Shamlaye, Secretary-General to the Seychelles National Commission for UNESCO, presented the minister with the beach monitoring instruments that will be used under the programme.

After presentations by officials from the Ministry of Environment on the basic issues of beach monitoring and the overall national programme, Dr. Gillian Cambers from the University of Puerto Rico conducted a practical training session to familiarise the participants with the monitoring instruments and techniques.

She said the most important benefit of a beach monitoring programme was in the capacity it built for local hotels and developers to know how to carry out their projects without disrupting a beach's natural processes.

'The best measure to combat erosion takes place before a hotel is ever built' Dr. Cambers noted.

However, she said that there were still various ways to fight against existing erosion problems, once more information was known about the accretion and erosion trends for a given beach.

Dr. Cambers said that the profile database created under the beach monitoring programme would help in determining what trends were seasonal and what trends might be influenced by other factors, such as rising sea-levels or man-made disturbances.

From there, she said the appropriate action could be taken that is best for a particular beach, be it through additional planting of trees and vegetation, breakwaters or other methods.

Dr. Cambers, an expert in coastal erosion, has helped with the implementation of beach monitoring programmes in 13 Caribbean islands, including Jamaica, St. Lucia and Antigua.

Andy Rath, Lemuria Resort's beach service manager, was one of a number of hotel representatives who participated in the workshop. He said that from a business point of view, the effects of beach erosion could ripple across a number of hotel services.

'Our beaches are one of the biggest experiences for our guests,' Mr. Rath said. 'We provide food and beverages directly on the beach, and if it is no longer an attraction, the hotel would lose out on valuable business.'

Seychelles Nation, 22nd July 2003


To get involved, contact :


National Co-ordinators
Mr Rolph Payet and Mr Alain De Comarmond
Ministry of Environment
PO Box 677, Victoria, Mahé, Seychelles
Tel: + 248 224 644
Fax: 248 322 945


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