With coral bleaching affecting the Indo Pacific Ocean on a large scale again this year and areas in the Seychelles having recorded bleaching in May 2010 we’ve been desperate to get into the water around our small coral garden to see what the effect of the bleaching around Cousine Island had been.
Due to the location of the coral garden towards the South of the island, this time of year (South East Monsoon) does not provide the best snorkelling conditions around this area. However snorkelling around the northern side of the island had shown slight bleaching, but numerous corals had survived.
With the wind calming down for a couple of days in a row, conditions and visibility was finally right to visit the coral garden and we are happy to report that minimal damage has occurred. No bleaching seems to have affected the garden itself, though 5 % of the fringing reef and 20% of the rocky areas have been affected. It is possible that the rougher seas and stronger currents during May might have helped limit the effect of the bleaching event.
In 1998 worldwide coral bleaching had a heavy impact even here in the Seychelles and the coral took a long time to recover, with changes in the last couple of years having been really spectacular. Over 470 species of fish has been recorded around the island in the last 3 years and with the coral regrowth this number is expected to increase.