Seychelles approves Sooty Tern egg harvest on new island


A new island in the Seychelles archipelago has been designated for the harvesting of Sooty Tern eggs, which are considered a seasonal delicacy.

Cosmoledo is the new island where the eggs will be harvested, instead of Desnoeufs, where the activity has been traditionally undertaken. Collectors are commending the decision, claiming there are a lot more birds nesting on Cosmoledo. The Seychelles Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change – in an attempt to regularise all the activities related to seabird conservation and the collection of seabirds' eggs nationally on the archipelago – has reviewed the existing regulations to include Cosmoledo and the privately-owned Bird Island on the list of islands on which the collecting can take place.

Sooty Tern eggs are considered a delicacy on Seychelles (Micky Maher).

Sooty Tern eggs were traditionally harvested from June to August on Desnoeufs, one of the outer islands in the 115-island archipelago. Managed by the Islands Development Company, the egg collection is usually undertaken every two years.

However, from 2020 there will be no collection of eggs on Desnoeufs. However, the Seychellois government has recommended that Desnoeufs is kept in the schedule of the Birds Eggs (Collection) Regulations as a back-up site.

Antonio Constance, an egg collector who used to head up the harvesting, said the decision to collect bird eggs on Cosmoledo is a good and long-awaited one: "They should have done this a long time ago as the island has many, many more birds than on Desnoeufs. It is a good decision because every year when the season opens it seems the demand always surpasses the supply."