Mauritius and Conservation

A PADI Green Star imposes obligations on the diving centre, and we at Ocean Spirit Scuba Diving Mauritius are supporting causes that sponsor conservation.

Among the Conservationists is

Urvashi from Nauticaz, who has undertaken the task of saving and collating information about the Crown of Thorns Starfish

Eugene Vitry of Reef Conservation, who spends every day at a different school teachinag the kids about conservation

Karuna The Tap Water Revolution, who has taken the War on Plastics in Mauritius to the world through her interview with the BBC

Mauritius Conscious, who sponsor internships for conservationists, who leartn to dive with Ocean Spirit and carry the Conservation methods to their countries

Barkha Mossae, of Seeing Blue, which encourages the young people of the Mascareignes Plateau to explore their Oceanic heritage

While the world is looking at ways to prevent pollituion, Mauritius is already ahead of the game. Legislation was passed in 2014 outlawing plastic bags for shopping. Fines against littering are punitive.

Conservation measures taken on land have a direct impact on the reefs and the marine life. By educating the children, Reef Conservation is also re-educating their parents. Many of these children came from poor families and subsistence fishing villages, and understanding the nature of what they own on land reflects back to how they regard the ocean. The number of fishermen in the North has reduced substantially thanks to a government incentive to buy back lisences and fishing nets.A subsistence fisherman can get back Rs 450 000 for his licence, which is enough for him to purchase a house. An additional Rs 265 000 is paid out if he surrenders his nets.Its refreshing to dive in an area where the evidence is conservation is so clearly seen. The endangered Green Tiurtle is back on turtle rock and we now have 11.

The fishermen have found other occupations in the Construction industry, sometimes with hilarious results. My plumber, an ex-fisherman, connected the inflow pipe to the exit pipe in my emergency water supply. As fast as the tank filled, it emptied.

During the past 20 years, a number of conservation and management measures have been taken by Government to ensure the protection of the marine environment and conserve fisheries resources. Some of the measures are:

  1. banning the removal and sale of corals and shells;

  2. prohibition of mining of corals for production of lime;

  3. prohibition of underwater fishing;

  4. tight control on import, storage and utilisation of dynamites;

  5. reduction of large net and gill net fishing under a buy-back programme;

  6. prohibition of lagoon sand removal as from September 2001 in order to protect the lagoon resources from adverse environmental effects;

  7. propagation of mangrove plants in appropriate coastal areas in order to increase nursery and feeding grounds and fish productivity;

  8. requirement of an Environment Impact Assessment under the Environment Protection Act for undertaking any project in the coastal zone and marine environment; and

  9. Mooring of buoys have been placed in one Marine Park and near dive sites to reduce damage on corals.

  10. eight Marine Protected Areas which includes two marine parks and 6 fishing reserves have been proclaimed

There is no doubt that Mauritius, World's largest Oceanographic state, is setting an example that other diving destination could well emulate.

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