Our oceans are in a dire state due to anthropogenic pressure such as overfishing, ocean acidification, deoxygenation, among others. And despite many nations committing to international commitments to create marine protected areas— ranging in coverage from 10% to 30% of their national marine areas—only 8% of the high seas is currently protected. According to the Marine Protection Atlas, merely 9 countries have protected at least 10% of their marine areas in implemented and fully or highly protected areas. Among these nine countries, four are small island developing states, namely: Palau, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Kiribati—all implementing ambitious plans to maintain vibrant marine environments that will not only be good for the environment but the economy as well. Controlling 19.1% of the world’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), SIDS are well-regarded stewards of the oceans, and many of these nations’ economies rely on the oceans. For instance, in Seychelles, the largest sector is tourism, followed by fisheries to sustain local communities. To keep both sectors afloat, the country has a difficult task at hand: to preserve its vast ocean territory amid a global climate crisis and financial constraints (Seychelles has an external debt equal to 85% of the country’s GDP). To protect its ocean wildlife, provide a new funding source for conservation, and transform its economy into a more resilient state, Seychelles is harnessing the power of innovative blue financing and successful partnerships. The country has piloted two creative financial approaches—a debt-for-nature swap and a sovereign blue bond. Both of these initiatives exemplify the importance of prioritizing local communities, enhancing partnerships, and incorporating digital technologies to achieve optimal results. Seychelles’ experience shows that there are ways to diversify the economy while also protecting the ocean and that investors and international partners are willing to support sustainable blue development. Many SIDS that confront similar challenges Seychelles experience (e.g. climate change, debt vulnerability, loss of livelihoods) can use the debt-for-nature swap and blue bond initiatives as a blueprint for other ocean-dependent nations or serve as a conversation-starter to develop the next generation of investment tools.