Request for Additional Grant by Reef Conservation (Mauritius) – former Marine Conservation Management Consortium (MCMC) – for the project “Permanent Mooring Buoys & Community Based Marine Environment Monitoring”
Request for Additional Grant by Reef Conservation (Mauritius) – former Marine Conservation Management Consortium (MCMC) – for the project “Permanent Mooring Buoys & Community Based Marine Environment Monitoring”
As a result of the seed funding provided by the UNDP GEF SGP in support of establishing Fixed Mooring Buoys (FMBs) to protect coral from anchor damage at selected dive sites, there have been several very positive developments. Some 28 FMBs have been deployed round the coast of Mauritius to date and additional support for the project has come in from the private sector and importantly the Association Hotelier Restaurateurs de l’Ile Maurice (AHRIM), showing considerable promise for support through the tourism industry for this initiative. However the most striking results of the project is the support received through the Government. The Ministry of Tourism has been and continues to be a key supporter of the project and have paid for the deployment of 18 buoys with plans to deploy another 40 – 50 buoys.

Important policy changes have also been witnessed as a result of this project. The Ministry of Agro Industry and Fisheries, as the responsible body for the lagoon areas of Mauritius had previously refused permission for the deployment of mooring buoys at snorkel sites within the lagoon. As a result of lobbying through the project and developing support from the Ministry this policy was changed in December 2006 providing permission for Reef Conservation (Mtius) to deploy FMBs within the lagoon at the snorkel sites. These sites are the most impacted from anchor damage and poor visitor management in Mauritius. Therefore this important new policy approach is a significant step towards the conservation of marine biodiversity in Mauritius. In addition, this policy change opens the door for direct support form the hotel industry that have a vested interest in conserving the ecology at the snorkel sites and through such partnerships mainstreaming biodiversity conservation through the tourism industry. It also raises the potential for developing voluntary no take areas focused on the FMB sites within the lagoon in conjunction with the fishers and the Ministry of Agro Industry and Fisheries, supporting the national initiative to develop stakeholder driven conservation and responsibility for management of marine resources in the lagoons of Mauritius. This coincides with the UNDP GEF medium size project, Partnerships in Marine Protected Areas for Mauritius and Rodrigues, which aims to develop innovative methods for the sustainable management of MPAs and marine resources through community and stakeholder involvement in the management and support of MPAs throughout Mauritius, which is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agro Industry and Fisheries.

The FMB project has considerable potential for developing important partnerships in both the Private and Public sectors and delivering sustainable biodiversity conservation in Mauritius. Both private and public sectors have expressed a keen interest in extending the project to create a comprehensive network of FMBs around the coast of Mauritius.

However, to date the methods used for deploying the FMBs has been to utilise dead weights as anchors for the buoys. These are difficult to handle and have considerable potential to cause injury to deployment personnel and damage to boats that have been generously loaned for the deployment operations. The alternative is to attach the mooring lines to dead coral or through holes in the basement rock, which can result in the mooring lines becoming severely weakened through abrasion on the anchor materials. Both these methods rely on the generous logistical support from commercial boat operators, but there are serious maintenance and management implications associated with this method of operation. The lack of autonomous logistical support can be extremely restrictive in terms of operational planning and implementation of a comprehensive maintenance and monitoring schedule as site access is restricted to times that are convenient to the commercial dive and boat operators.

The success of this project to date and the growth of support and interest will result in a dramatic increase in requests for and the number of buoys to be deployed, monitored and maintained both off shore and within the lagoon. While the methods used to date were appropriate with only a few buoys in the water to maintain, it is not sustainable for the long term, particularly in view of the potential number of FMBs proposed to be deployed through both Private and Public sector.

For this project to achieve its full potential in meeting biodiversity conservation goals it will have to upgrade the deployment methods to a recognised international standard, from both an ecological and a safety point of view. To achieve this it will be necessary to purchase underwater drilling and ancillary equipment. Each anchor point can then be drilled in and secured directly to the basement rock/reef, providing a long term, secure and ecological solution to anchoring the FMBs. It should be stressed that the buoys (surface markers) will remain the same. The cost for this equipment is directly offset by the future conservation of marine biodiversity in Mauritius and improved safety aspects, mitigating the dangers to personnel associated with the deployment of dead weight anchors in a seaway.

In addition to the purchase of drilling equipment, the purchase of logistical support equipment, a boat, will provide autonomy for the deployment of the equipment and anchors (so avoiding the risk of damage to volunteer’s boats). Most importantly, autonomy will allow for improved planning and monitoring, maintenance and management of the FMBs which will become more critical as the number of buoys in the water increases. This will allow Reef Conservation to monitor the FMB systems and the sites as required as opposed to relying on logistical support from various commercial operators and working within the constraints of their availability. Two potential sponsors (British High Commission and Equity Capital Trust) have been approached for the purchase of the boat and two 4 stroke outboard engines.

This equipment will underpin the FMB project providing the sustainability required for developing a comprehensive FMB network and creating the necessary partnerships for improved biodiversity conservation in Mauritius.



 

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Reef Conservation (formerly Marine Conservation Management Consortium)
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 17,788.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 73,528.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 4,727.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP3/23
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed

Grantee Contact

Mr System Administrator
 

Address

Morcellement Pereyscape, Les Flammants Branch Road
Péreybère ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website