The Coral Reefs of the Mauritius West Coast
The West Coast of Mauritius has just become a HOPESPOT for Mission blue, an American Company whose mission is to help restore the marine environment and coral reefs in areas that need help.
Personally, I find this humiliating, because Mauritius is extremely conservation conscious, being among the first countries in the world to ban plastic bags. Take a look at Parag 9, Point 1 clause e in the Conservation Section of the Fisheries Act of 2007:
Included in the Act is the prohibition of an activity likely to disturb the marine ecosystem or habitats.
Sadly, this clause seems to have been ignored where the danger to fragile Coral Reefs is concerned, so an International Aid organization has been called in. I investigated the causes of the death of some of the reefs on the West Coast, and there appear to be 4 major causes:
GOLF COURSE DEVELOPMENTS
In 2013 the Bahamas case first drew attention to the impact of golf course effluent on coral. reefs.https://www.notesfromtheroad.com/sgcr/
Many of the Mauritius golf courses have been built ajoining the coral reefs prior to 2013,
so reticulation measures were not considered.
Fertilizers and chemicals have trickled through the aquifers into the ocean and thence destroyed the ajoining coral reefs. I would like to see the owners of these golf courses taking preventive measures to stop this, and to sponsor www.reefforlife.com in regenrating the corals they have destroyed. It would make great publicity, and be an exciting ongoing story.
In the North the newly built Montchoisy Golf course has been made aware that since their opening in 2017 the reefs around the area of Mon Choisy and Trou Biches have been slowly dying.
The CEO of Montchoisy has not yet confirmed how the chemical bearing effluent from the golf course is reticulated. As soon as I have her response it will be published, so you can see how they plan to deal with this. Standing by is Sagar, from www.reefforlife.com, whose coral regeneration project is still in its infancy, and who is ready to help with his reef regeneration project.
If there is a problem, the CEO will solve it.
PERMITS ALLOWING THE REMOVAL OF REEF FISH FROM THE REEFS
For years a Mauritian family has had a permit to collect some of the 10 000 reef fish per year that the Ministry of Fisheries allows. Their off-take was very small for 20 years.
Then they partnered wuith German acrylic tank builders SCHURAN ( Florian Schuran, owner) in 2014, where they appeared in a German Aquarium show. THey started collecting and exporting on a huge scale.
https://youtu.be/awWDc6H6KjM. Skip the ad and watch the video. Its pretty chilling.
This year they could only find 4000 reef fish, in fact the rare fish have all now been removed.
I asked a Marine Biologist what the effect would be of the removal of reef fish from the coral ecosystem:
This is a problem because indeed fish in some places are becoming increasingly rare, and we know that if the fish population (is removed) the corals will be in poor health too. From an NGO in Mauritius in French, translated by Googletranslate
NET FISHING AROUND THE CORAL REEFS
It is satisfying to honour the 23 fishermen in the North who gave up their nets, stopped fishing and took the Mauritius Government incentive of Rs 450 000 to give up their nets allowing the Northern Reefs to regrow. Net fishing over coral reefs cannot distinguish between reef fish and pelagics, so anyway it is in contravention of the act. But these men knew that fishing was a problem for the divers, and they have been very careful.
INTERFERING WITH MARINE LIFE
Perhaps the Diving Centres around Trou Biches ( Prodive, Blue Water divers, Beachcomber Hotel Trou Biches) would consider educating the tour operators and stop them feeding the endangerd Green Turtles and the endangered Hawksbill turtles on fish, fruit and bread.
One can only applaud the Mauritius government who enacted the legislation that will enable all these things to be recified in due course.
It would be nice to see the collection of Reef Fish banned in accordance with the legislation, all permits to collect Reef Fish cancelled, and no fishing allowed where there are coral reefs within the 165 fathom line of the land mass.
Then we might be lucky enough see a full recovery of all the Mauritius coral reefs.