Seychelles urges EU and international community to protect tourism
Among the high-level delegates meeting in London today to discuss the growing problem of piracy emanating from Somalia, and threatening the entire east African coast, is President James Michel of the Seychelles. He recognises that both of the islands’ major sources of livelihood, tourism and fishing, are under increasing threat from piracy. The issue has already caused a 10% reduction in tourism, he says, while the availability of fish is scarcer in the markets. Pirates regularly take fishermen from the Seychelles hostage.
In response, the Seychelles is going after the pirates, capturing and imprisoning them, and the prisons there are full. The country has a strong, proactive approach and has tough anti-piracy laws, but it says that countries in Europe and North America do not. The EU has different rules of engagement. The Seychelles are therefore using the conference to urge the international community to do more to protect the coastline and tourism. Today’s piracy, the president warns, could become tomorrow’s terrorism.
[pictured : Giant Tortoise, Seychelles; courtesy Seychelles Tourism Board]