U.K. Family of Four Sells All Belongs to Move to Remote Seychelles Island to Revitalize Coral Reef
A family of four is swapping the U.K. for the world's smallest nature reserve, an island on the Seychelles, to launch a coral farm to save the reef.
Karolina and Barry Seath have sold their house and are now preparing to move to Moyenne Isand, just 1,312 feet long by 984 feet wide, with their two young daughters, SWNS reported.
They have launched a charity and teamed up with local biologists in a bid to revitalize the Seychelles’ coral reefs, which have been devastated by rising sea temperatures.
Their farm, regrowing coral to put back on the reef, will be only the second in the world, the other being on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Barry, a 47-year-old former recruitment consultant and policeman, said, “We are just a normal husband, wife, and two kids, living the sort of life that most others do. But we both felt the need to make a positive change for ourselves, our children and the world we had largely taken for granted."
He continued, "So we have sold our home and parted company with most of our worldly possessions.”
On several holidays to the Seychelles, the Seaths witnessed how the coral was deteriorating over time as they snorkeled around the coastline. Now, around 90 percent of the islands’ coral has died.
Barry said to SWNS, "Every time we visited we noticed the coral was getting worse and worse. All the tourists say the same thing. They love the beaches, but are really disappointed with the coral. They expect these lush coral reefs, but what they actually find is lots of coral rubble.”
The couple was eager to make a difference and to show their daughters, Georgina, 11, and Josephine, seven, an alternative way of life.
After more than 15 years running a London recruitment firm, Barry feels now is the time to make this change.
Barry has teamed up with experts at the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, whose staff specialize in coral and marine biology.
Building the farm is scheduled to take just three months. Once complete it will be the first large-scale, land-based coral farm in the Indian Ocean. They aim to grow around 10,000 corals a year.
A diverse range of corals will be grown and then replanted in the local reefs. This will ensure the biodiversity of the reefs are maintained and begin to replenish the estimated 250,000 individual corals that have already been lost in the seas and reefs in the Seychelles archipelago.
Barry said, “It’s not going to change things overnight and will take a lot of work, but as we scale up operations, we expect to have a major and positive impact on the coral reefs in the area.”
The Seaths, from London, are already talking to researchers at a U.K. university about how they can use their tanks to carry out ground-breaking research on new techniques.
As one of just two similar farms globally, the Seaths' project could provide a rare chance for scientists to develop their laboratory research on a larger scale.
The farm will be located on Moyenne Island, just off the coast of Mahé, the Seychelles’ largest island, according to SWNS.
In 2012, Moyenne was designated the world’s smallest national park after its only inhabitant, Brendon Grimshaw, died.
Grimshaw, a former newspaper editor, bought the island for just £8,000 in 1962 and lived there for four decades until his death.
The conservationist transformed the island by planting thousands of trees and introducing giant tortoises that still roam the island to this day.
Barry said, “The island has an amazing history. There are stories of hotel groups and rich individuals wanting to buy the island from Brendon. They told him he could just name his price, but he refused every time. He didn’t want it to be developed."
“We hope to honor Brendan's legacy by using the island as the venue of our first coral farm," continued Barry.
The couple will divide project responsibilities, which also involves offering educational tours to tourists and local school children.
Georgina and Josephine will become youth ambassadors alongside their studies at a new school on Mahé island, just a 15-minute boat trip from Moyenne.
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The sisters are eager to start their new adventure. Josephine, the youngest sibling, said, “I’ll miss my friends, but I’m really looking forward to seeing lots of different animals and doing lots of snorkeling and helping my dad look after the coral.”
Georgina wants to learn to dive to assist the project and added, “I’m really excited to have this opportunity to move abroad and learn more about the world. I hope we can make a real difference.”
The family is hoping flights will return to normal as coronavirus lockdowns are eased ahead of their planned departure in late August.
They are now establishing a charity called Coral Reef Conservation U.K., and hope that the organization's official status will encourage donations from individuals and corporations.
The family has enough money to support themselves for the first two years, but still need donations to fund the project’s running costs.
Barry said, “Because we are working for free and as the landowner has agreed to pay the building costs, we are able to create this farm at a fraction of the cost you might expect.
"So it’s a real opportunity to make a massive difference for a pretty small amount of money.”
He added: “We’re very excited at the opportunity to make a positive impact and we hope that people will be able to support us.”
Donations can be made at their GoFundMe page.