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DESROCHES ISLAND - LAND USE PLAN
The Desroches Island land use plan is being developed under the GOS GEF UNDP program. It is part of a project Expansion and strengthening of the protected area subsystem of the outer islands of Seychelles and its integration into the broader land and seascape (Outer Island or IO project). The project seeks to promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and marine biodiversity in the Seychelles’ Outer Islands by expanding the protected areas system and strengthening protected area management, supported by broad-scale ecosystem planning and sustainable land management activities to conserve ecosystem functions.
Desroches is the largest island in the Amirantes (394 hectares) and the closest to the granitic islands, lying 230 kilometres southwest of Victoria. It is a sand cay on the western edge of a submerged atoll about 20 kilometres in diameter. The island is just over 5 kilometres long but only 330 metres wide at its narrowest point. A channel northwest of the island is about 1.6 kilometres wide and 18 metres deep, allowing even cruiseships to enter the calm waters of the lagoon, within which there is little variation in the depth at around 25 metres. It was named in the late 18th century in honour of François Julien Desroches, administrator of Ile de France (now Mauritius). On English charts it was called Wood Island, because of the extensive native forest.