The algae has left the reef
5 years ago Turtle Rock was smothered in red and black algae, there was no life and the turtles had left. 3 days ago, 14 March 2023, we dived on Turtle Rock to find schools of parrotfish, schools of rabbitfish and many other grazers- long nosed unicorn fish- species we thought had left the island. We were a small group, and Bernard was the first to spot the turtles- they have returned to their traditional hangout.
It was wonderful.
How did this happen? Partly because during COVID for 18 months there was no fishing, and no exporting of Mauritius Reef fish. The result was that breeding and spawning of various almost extinct species. We are seeing shoals of young parrotfish, clouds of butterfly fish and adult breeding pars of some of the rarer species of Bannerfish and Moorish Idols at last.
Another part was of course the enforcement of the Marine Resources Protection Act by the Mauritian Government. Unique in the small island groups, Mauritius is more than an Island- is is the world's largest primarily Oceanographic state. The authorities protect the ocean as well as protecting the landmass, and this is the result of that protection.
There has also been a significant drop off in the collection of marine species for export, and divers are travelling from all corners of the world to film the weedy scorpionfish, the Mauritian Scorpionfish, the beautiful but lethal stone fish, and the still rare, but increasing in number, twin spot lionfish. Best of all, the turtles have returned to Turtle Rock, including Chelonia Mydas, the Green Sea Turtle whose name is on our boat CHELONIA MYDAS