The sale of coco de mer, the world’s biggest nut that is endemic to Seychelles, has more than doubled in 2022 compared to 2021, said an environment officer.
According to Steven Azemia, the forestry officer in the Department of Environment, 1,560 coco de mer tags have been sold in total compared to 743 sold in 2021.
Azemia told SNA that “holographic tags are given to owners of the nut to show they have a permit to own the protected coco de mer as it is illegal to have a coco de mer without a tag and permit. The tags also allow us to know how many nuts were sold.”
The coco de mer grows naturally only on two of Seychelles islands, Praslin and Curieuse. On Praslin, it is found in the Vallee de Mai special reserve, which is one of Seychelles’ UNESCO World Heritage sites, and at the Fond Ferdinand reserve.
The palm is a dioecious species, meaning it has both a male and female plant and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.
The holographic tags are given to owners of the nut to show they have a permit to own the protected coco de mer. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
Azemia told SNA that the sale of the famous nut continued to a lesser extent despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although we were not selling a large number due to the decrease in the number of visitors coming into the country at the time, we still managed to sell quite a bit,” he added.
Azemia said that in “2020 when COVID-19 was at its peak, we sold 1,303 tags for the nut mainly bought as a souvenir due to its unique shape.”
The coco de mer nut is sold mostly to visitors to Seychelles and the sale was affected after the country closed its border after a surge in COVID-19 active cases.
He also revealed that Praslin, the second most populated island, is still the biggest seller of the coco de mer nut, selling a total of 1,165 in 2022. Mahe, the main island, sold 394 nuts in 2022.
According to the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA), the coco de mer nuts are sold at three different prices. There are two different shapes A where nuts are sold at SCR 6,000 ($454) and shape B at SCR 5,000 ($378). Those that are considered as misshapen are sold at SCR3,000 ($227).
Meanwhile, in a bid to keep the production of the nut sustainable, the department has launched a replanting activity and so far 588 trees have been planted in different homes in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Source: Seychelles News Agency