Have your fish and eat it? Investors bank on ocean conservation in the Seychelles

29 October 2018 - 07:20 By Timeslive
Island of Mahé in the Seychelles. File photo.
Island of Mahé in the Seychelles. File photo.

The Republic of Seychelles has launched the world's first sovereign blue bond - a financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects.

Proceeds from the bond will support the expansion of marine protected areas‚ improved governance of priority fisheries and the development of the Seychelles' blue economy.

"We are honoured to be the first nation to pioneer such a novel financing instrument‚" said Vincent Meriton‚ vice-president of the island nation‚ who announced the bond at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali.

“The blue bond‚ which is part of an initiative that combines public and private investment to mobilise resources for empowering local communities and businesses‚ will greatly assist Seychelles in achieving a transition to sustainable fisheries and safeguarding our oceans while we sustainably develop our blue economy.”

Marine resources are critical to the Seychelles' economic growth. After tourism‚ the fisheries sector is the country's most important industry‚ contributing significantly to annual GDP and employing 17% of the population. Fish products make up around 95% of domestic exports.

Proceeds from the bond will also contribute to the World Bank's South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Programme‚ which supports countries in the region to sustainably manage their fisheries and increase economic benefits from their fisheries sectors.

The World Bank assisted in developing the blue bond. The three investors are Calvert Impact Capital‚ Nuveen and Prudential.

The bond‚ which raised $15-million from international investors‚ demonstrates the potential for countries to harness capital markets for financing the sustainable use of marine resources‚ said the World Bank.

"It is a powerful signal that investors are increasingly interested in supporting the sustainable management and development of our oceans for generations to come‚" said Laura Tuck‚ the bank’s vice-president of sustainable development.