Hello it’s me again, Ryan. Today I will be telling you all about a great excursion I took with an NGO in Mauritius. This NGO is EPCO: Environmental Protection & Conservation Organisation. We met Mr. Keshwar Beeharry Panray the CEO and founding member at Camp du Pecheur, Grand Riviere Sud-Est in Mahebourg, along with some local fishermen who were the guides for the day. As the group was quite large, it was divided into two small groups and two boats were deployed for us to begin our journey towards Ile aux Cerfs where we later had a typical Mauritian lunch.
After the group was divided we all boarded the boat, the engine started and slowly the skipper navigated the boat out of the jetty. The water was so crystal clear and one could see all the marine life below the ocean. The first stop was a few kilometers in the lagoon were EPCO has an ongoing project of reconstruction of an artificial reef for octopus and this project is about 10 years old. The organisation has been working closely with the local fishermen with this project so that they can catch their octopus in a sustainable manner. They have an understanding whereby EPCO provides artificial houses made out of concrete for the octopus. They are placed in the lagoon and the fishermen are not to hunt for the octopus when they are in their reproductive stage which is more or less two months (there are laws regarding this). Moreover, they are not to catch the octopus unless they are at the agreed size. So far from the information I have gathered by interviewing Mr. Panray and some fishermen the project is a success. Per annum, approximately 500kg of octopus are fished from the artificial reef. So in my view Seychelles could implement a similar project in one of our big bays.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was watching one of the fishermen catching an octopus, which took about 5 to 10 minutes. I was so lucky to hold a live octopus; surely I will never forget this amazing experience. After all this excitement it was time for some lunch. So we navigated towards Ile aux Cerfs, a flat island surrounded by crystal clear waters and soft white sand, just like in Seychelles. One particularly interesting thing I learned from those fishermen is that the fishing of sea cucumber is illegal in Mauritius. Sea cucumber is a sea creature that filters the ocean bed and cleans the corals. Thus, by having a large population in the sea leads to such clear waters.
After having vindaye for lunch it was time for our last stop, which was a boat ride to a cascade that falls right into the ocean. It was so fascinating to see such a phenomenon and to hear the local legends about that place. Indeed it was a fruitful day.
Written by Ryan Dewea