After a delicious breakfast organized by our host Deegesh surprisingly consisting of «gato piman», we went to visit the Mauritius Oceanographic Institute (MOI). This institute established in January 2000 provides support to the Ministry of Ocean Economy.
Their aim is to develop the Blue Economy by:
We had the chance to see a presentation and to visit all the departments of MOI. The chemistry department is undertaking researches regarding a special sponge specie that could eventually cure diseases such as cancers, Alzheimer and even diabetes. To be able to develop these kind of “New medicines”, the scientists are taking different samples of coral species. Then, after the decode of the sample’s DNA, they can eventually create medicines and therefore commercialize them in the future.
MOI is also undertaking surveys of all the Mauritian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Different parameters are studied such as the water’s temperature, the PH, various currents, phosphates and fluorescent chlorophyll presence, in order to see the evolution of the ocean’s state.
One of their future project is the creation of a huge database concerning Mauritius’ EEZ available worldwide for the public and potential investors. This ambitious project will include various features such as the water temperature, chemical composition of the seabed, listing all marine species, monitoring of coral reefs, potential mineral and hydrocarbon resources and fishing zones.
During the second part of the day, we had the opportunity to visit the office of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Centre (NDRRMC). Located in Port-Louis, this department of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity, Environment and Sustainability; works in order to reduce disaster risks in Mauritius. They get involve in cases of disaster such as oil spills, landfill fires, cyclones, torrential rains, flash floods and storm surges.
Here is a list of their main activities and collaborations:
Throughout the discovery of these two places, we have been able to understand much more about how precious the marine resources are to the country and how they are surveyed in order to see an eventual evolution.
That’s all for now!
A week passed by swiftly and all that are left are memories, but may I just say that this is just the beginning, and there are more to come.
I simply couldn’t leave Mauritius without packing one more suitcase of knowledge as well as making a final contribution. As the time rushed and with the excitements of heading back home, all the interns went for a final visit at the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC or COI) were by we received a small presentation about the history of the organization, its mission and visions, its accomplishments since its existence as well as the different countries which forms part of the organization.
After the presentation we were invited for a small refreshment, and then we proceeded for a small visit around the establishment and we go to know about the different departments and their objectives.
The day was intensely full as we participated into a small cleanup around the building were by we collected plastics and mixed waste, and believe it was a scene to be seen. Just by a blink of an eye, our moment came to end, and we head back to the hotel for the final packing to head back home.
I didn’t want to leave as my journey was one filled with joy and happiness, but I had no choice as everyone was waiting for me back home.
Aurevoir l’ile Maurice! Merci de m’avoir reҫu, et merci aussi pour votre hospitalité. Merci aussi a SYAH Seychelles qui ma encadrais pour cette programme et qui ma aidée réaliser une rêve.
Mersi mo bann zanmi.
The weather itself wasn’t so good this morning but it didn’t stop us from visiting (MOI). The institution is located in Albian ,Mauritius where it contributes and raises awareness on coral farming and reef rehabilitation. MOI has an amount of 24 scientists and 18 individual staffs. Their work varies as most workers are biologists and chemists.
Mauritian Oceanography institute consists of 4 multidisciplinary science and they are..
The next visit was at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Centre (NDRRMC). Coordinating and monitoring the implementation of DRRM programmes through community participation and public awareness the department had a lot of plans for upcoming years. They have completely different experience with disasters risks comparing to Seychelles. Mauritius usually receives heavy rainfall and cyclones damaging and destroying housings and buildings causing expenses to the government. I wanted to know much more as I was interested in knowing the differences of Seychelles and Mauritius Disaster risk department. The journey surely was not over and I am looking forward to more adventures.
On day 5, we visited an NGO called ‘Reef Conservation’ at Nauticaz. There, we learned about the organization, their activities and projects that they carry. One of their project that caught my attention was the Voluntary Marine Conservation Area Programme (VMCA).
WHAT IS THE VMCA?
It is a protected area in the lagoon and sea including habitats and biodiversity. It started in 2009 in Mauritius, since then they have 2 VMCA site on the North and East Caost of Mauritius at ‘Roches Noires Lagoon’ and the other at ‘Anse La Raie Lagoon’. It is a community based programme and an establishment of sustainable activities e.g Snorkeling Trail.
WHY A VMCA IN MAURITIUS?
The presentation itself was very fascinating and the project is something that should be implemented in Seychelles to protect our reefs and biodiversity.
Until next time
Since our arrival the rain became a constant companion and today was no different. As always we did not let that dampen our spirits, we had a mission to accomplish. After a long and tiring journey to the north of Mauritius, we finally arrived at Reef Conservation. My fellow Blue Economy Champions and I had the pleasure of meeting an incredibly passionate team dedicated to their work. So what is Reef Conservation all about?
Reef Conservation Mauritius is a non-profit organisation which is dedicated to the conservation as well as the restoration of the costal and marine environment of Mauritius. They promote the sustainable use of marine ecosystem biodiversity through local and regional efforts by partnering with various stakeholders. Foster community participation by reaching various stakeholders particularly the concentrate on youth and coastal communities to take leadership of the conservation. Conservation is only effective if people are involved and have a vested interest in it.
One project where community participation is essential is the VMCA. You may ask “What are VMCAs?”
Well Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas (VMCAs) are selected sites found within the lagoon where resource users and coastal communities agree that no extractive or destructive activities will be undertaken, which has been established since 2009. This is essential as it helps the ecosystem to restore itself and is undertaken with collaboration from the registered fisherman. The project builds networks cross cutting various interest groups, promoting co-management of sites which include Roches Noires and one in Anse La Raie. The committee works in tandem to monitor and create awareness of the sites, this helps to identify issues and actions that can be undertaken to improve the ecosystem as well as economic benefits to be had.
Reef Conservation works closely with the youth through education and awareness campaigns complimented with skill development. One way is the is the sea bus “Bis la Mer” which travels around Mauritius meeting various communities to sensitize the locals, up till now they have reached over 20,000 people. Carry out sustainability projects such as recycling, organic/endemic gardens in schools, they have over 99 schools in both Mauritius and Rodrigues, coupled with policy work to integrate marine science and conservation into the existing National Curriculum for primary school children. This is only a brief summary of Reef Conversation and does not fully reflect the magnitude and dedication of this team to their work.
After an interactive introduction to organisation we were treated to a glass bottom boat ride to a nearby reef to view of the ecosystem. Despite the slightly lowered visibility and bumpy ride we were given a real treat! Various exotic fish and coral species of varying shapes, sizes, we couldn’t contain our excitement, testing our knowledge by identify fish and taking pictures. Unfortunately our moment of bliss came to an abrupt end, when we discovered a horrific scene. We discovered a fish trap with various fish inside, unfortunately the fish inside the cage were not consumable such as the butterfly fish. So we champions (Richard and I) stepped in, mounting a rescue mission to free the fishes with the help of the skipper and his trusted side kick! Working together and I were able to lift the heavy cage to the boat and free the fishes, upon closer inspection we saw that the trap was of an old design as it was made of metal and rusted. It probably got carried by the currents onto the reef, one is left to wonder how many fish fell victim before we found it and how many of the traps may still be out there.
Felling proud of a job well done we went back to the centre and after a heroes feast of chicken pasta, we went for a tour of the nearby mangrove area to learn about this habitat. Fun fact is that there are molluscs that can help to determine the weather. These tiny creatures climb up trees and hide in grooves this signals that there might be rain and they always face away from where the wind is blowing. This tiny fun fact is brought to you by Reef Conversation very own Bear Grylls, who we discovered is Seychellois! I also had the opportunity to plant a mangrove seed that may seem insignificant now but will one day grow into a home for various wildlife and help the community even when I’m not there! I hope to one day return to visit my tree.
I have to say this has been a memorable visit, I have learnt much and also shared my knowledge with the team there on issues we face and solutions which can be implemented to solve those issues. We need more collaboration between various stakeholders by sharing knowledge, increasing participation and capacity building as it is through these methods that we can make a better tomorrow. I hope the fellow champions have left there a little bit more knowledgeable and appreciation for marine and coastal conservation.
Please note some photos courtesy of Anael Bodwell.
I must say, I was not delighted to hear that we were attending a presentation but everything changed once I heard about the land under water in the Seychelles and Mauritius water.
But before I continue I’ll give you a little information on where we attend the presentation, it was at Port Louis, New Government centre, Level 7th in the Department for Continental Shelf, Maritime Zones Administration and Exploration (CSMZAE) under the director general of Dr.M.Rezah BADAL of the Ministry of Defence And Rodrigues
CSMZAE have 3 objectives sectors
*MARITIME SOVEREIGNTY & TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
*MARITIME ZONES ADMINISTRATION & USE
*SEABED EXPLORATION FOR HYDROCARBON & MINERALS
Joint Management Area (J.O.M) Mauritius-Seychelles Strategic Plan 2016-2020
Being someone who is aspiring to work in the tourism industry, I was eager to learn about how the Four Seasons Resort is working in collaboration with Wise Oceans. After being welcomed by the 3 of the members of the Wise Oceans team namely, Mr. Rick Bonnier who is a marine educator, Ms. Jyodee Sannassy Pilly who is also a marine educator and Mr. Bernard Toinette who is a skipper and marine educator support. We we’re shown a video which showed us how the four season hotel franchise started ,in this video it showed us some practices that the four season itself started. Such as introducing shampoo in the bathroom as well as installing television sets in front of treadmills. And this is now practice by many hotels all over the world.
The main lesson I took from the video was that no dream is too big or too small. We also got the chance to meet the general manager who talked to us about his career in the industry and how you should love your job and not feel like it is a burden but see it as something you are passionate about.
After learning more about the resort, Mr. Rick and Ms. Jyodee gave us an overview of what they do, their aim is to share maximum knowledge to the guest about the ocean and all the creatures that inhabit it.They share this knowledge by organizing guided snorkeling sessions ,reef discovering, mangroves discovering and other activities as well. The ‘Hobbit Club’ organizes activities such as treasure hunts for the children to know more about the marine life, which to me is a great initiative as it teaches children from a young age that their every action may have an impact on the ocean.
One of the main points that was presented to us in the presentation was the many threats to the corals not only in Mauritius but which is affecting Seychelles as well. Such as the growth of thorns that feed on the polyps and causes them to die. They use a chemical called sodium bisulfate which they inject the thorns with and kills the thorns. Other threats include anchor damage, coral bleaching, irresponsible tourism and others. I am learning so much and I know my knowledge on the ocean will be more after this amazing journey.
Till next time!
In that exact order, one after the other, together these areas do so much for us. Fact is that ocean provides around 70-80% of the oxygen you are inhaling at this very moment.
However many of us fail to see their importance. We don’t understand why we need them. We don’t know why we are immensely dependent on them. So why protect them?
This brings us to Day 5 we're I along with other interns visited the Reef Conservation at NauticazCenter. It is an NGO focused on of course conservation, hence the name and restoration.
There are various going projects being done by the small group of only 10 people working at the centre. Such as;
• Education and Awareness
In attempts to sensitize the people in 2014 "Bis lamer" was launched. The bus decorated beautifully drives around giving different information to the people. So far it has received 23,000 visitors!
Club Mer: Is a program for the youth. This consists of activities ranging from field trips to snorkeling lessons.
Other programs include Eco-school, Octopus closure and Development of sustainable tools.
• Research and monitoring
Voluntary Marine Conservation Area Programme (VMCA).This involves help from community. They strive to protect the sea grass as an example.
Sea grass serves as a nursery for juveniles, prevents erosion using their roots and provides food for turtles. Thus this brings in tourism, oxygen, food and protection for us!
Did you know? Branched corals are the fastest growing corals. They can grow up to 15cm per year! Sadly this is destroyed within seconds.
So let start protecting and conserving our ecosystems more today than we did yesterday! :)
Another wonderful day in our home away from home. We went to the Department for continental shelf, Maritime Zone Administration and Exploration (CSMZAE), which is quite new as it was established in 2015, with only 2 workers at the time! Over the past two years, it has gained quite a number of staff. They ensure the effective management of the maritime zones and establish its maritime zones in accordance with international laws and conventions.
Hi, so it’s me again...on our 4th day of our internship we had a long bus ride to the Department for Continental Shelf Maritime Zones Administration and Exploration. It was really interesting as we learned so many new things such as the 3 sectors of the Department and many more.