The development of ecotourism in Rivière Banane as an alternative to fishing
The development of ecotourism in Rivière Banane as an alternative to fishing
The primary aim of this project is to provide an alternative source of income for the fishing community in Rivière Banane. This will help marine biodiversity by reducing fishing pressure in the lagoon, allowing fish stocks and degraded habitats to recover while preserving popular diving and snorkelling sites which have healthy coral cover and are home to endemic species of coral and fish. The project also aims to raise awareness of the need to protect the marine environment in Rodrigues, so promoting marine conservation and fishery sustainability. The project will be undertaken by Ocean Tribe, a new NGO formed as a result of collaborations between the fisher community of Rivière Banane and Shoals Rodrigues because the fishers are no longer able to earn their livelihood form the sea due to the setting up of 4 marine reserves. This project is linked to another alternative livelihood project to develop a sustainable livestock farm at Rivière Banane and will form part of the integrated watershed management plan for the area.

Fishing is one of the largest employment sectors on Rodrigues, however the fisheries are now in serious decline and fishers are suffering from a loss of income. In response to the degradation of the reef environment and the need to improve fisheries sustainability, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly has adopted the proposals of Shoals Rodrigues and has embarked on a strategy to develop a network of marine reserves to allow degraded habitats to recover and fish stocks to regenerate. The 4 marine reserves, outputs of a previous GEF-SGP funded project, were proclaimed in April 2007, however the development of alternative livelihoods for fishers is vital to ensuring the success of the marine reserves in Rodrigues. Rivière Banane will be the first marine reserve to be demarcated and 63% percent of households in Rivière Banane are dependent on fishing to support their family; without other alternatives, fishers will have no choice but to continue to fish illegally within the reserve. The project is in line with the current priorities of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) as it highlights the beauty of the underwater world in Rodrigues to tourists and will remove fishing pressure from the lagoon; it also builds upon a previous successful GEF-SGP project by Shoals Rodrigues which developed the network of marine reserves in Rodrigues.

The project aims to develop ecotourism in Rivière Banane, increasing the number of tourists visiting the village and thus providing economic benefit to the local community. At the end of the project, direct employment will be provided for at least 7 members of the community, while other members of the community will benefit through training allowing for the development of local restaurants and shops selling food and artisanal produce to the tourists visiting the area. This will provide alternative incomes for fishers, preventing the need to go out fishing and therefore reducing pressure on the lagoon. A further result is an improved understanding of the local environment amongst both tourists and the local community, which will work towards promoting marine conservation and fishery sustainability.

Preliminary socio-economic studies will be undertaken to assess needs and potential problems as well as tourist ‘willingness to pay’, allowing an extended cost benefit analysis to be undertaken and a suitable marketing strategy to be developed. The Marine Tourist Guide Course will be provided to members of the Rivière Banane community which includes training in snorkeling techniques, lifesaving, first-aid, boat-handling and customer care as well as marine ecology. A glass bottom boat will be commissioned and purchased and will be used to conduct snorkelling and glass-bottom boat excursions for tourists. The Rivière Banane marine reserve includes a popular snorkelling site “Aquarium”, which is home to a large number of reef fish and healthy corals and a series of set routes will be devised in order to show passengers the greatest range of habitats and species. Brochures will also be produced to provide tourists with additional information about the species they are seeing and 2 permanent mooring buoys will be placed in the Aquarium to prevent damage from anchors during snorkelling trips. Onshore, tourists will be shown a short film about the marine environment in Rodrigues and will be encouraged to spend some time in the village and visit the local shops in Rivière Banane. The glass bottom boat will be launched on World Ocean’s Day during June 2008 to coincide with the official opening of the Rivière Banane marine reserve.

During the project, education sessions will be provided to members of the local community in Rivière Banane as well as to local tour operators and hotel owners emphasising the importance of marine reserves for marine conservation and fisheries sustainability and the need for responsible tourism. The boat will also be used by Shoals Rodrigues as an educational tool, to allow fishers in the village to see their coral reef and lagoon habitats for themselves; school groups and members of the public would also be invited to participate in specially organised sessions, raising awareness on a wider scale.

The total project cost has been calculated at RS2,190,077 of which Rs1,447,259 is requested from the GEF-SGP. Contributions towards the remaining costs have been requested from the Indian Ocean Commission’s ‘Réseau des aires marines protégées des pays de la COI’ (Rs118,239), Ocean Tribe has committed Rs216,000 and Shoals Rodrigues has committed Rs358,579.
 
Loading map...

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Ocean Tribe
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 49,226.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 4,022.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 19,544.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/RAF/07/02
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Notable Community Participation
5. PLAN TO ENSURE COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION Many of the members of Ocean Tribe are fishers from the communities of Rivière Banane, Brulé, Roche Bon Dieu and Grand Montagne who will all benefit from the Marine Tourist Guide training course and additional education sessions. Education sessions will also be held for the local communities in and around Rivière Banane to include the local primary school and community groups. Educational trips on the glass bottom boat will be offered to schools, youth and community groups around Rodrigues as well as to members of the general public. Of the 10 members of Rivière Banane who participate in the Marine Tourist Guide course, 7 will be offered full-time employment at the end of the project (2 boat guides, 2 boatmen, 2 beach guides and 1 manager). The other 3 will be encouraged to use the training, for example by applying for a pleasure craft license so they can also take tourists out snorkelling themselves. The project will benefit the village as a whole by increasing the number of tourists visiting Rivière Banane, providing improved income for local shop owners and people selling artisanal products. Collaborations will also be formed with the Association Rodriguais pour le Développement de Tourism Intégré (ARDTI), the Association Rodriguais de Tour Operateurs (ARTO), Discovery Rodrigues and local hotel and gîte owners.
Policy Impact
Fishing is one of the largest employment sectors on Rodrigues, however the fisheries are now in serious decline and fishers are suffering from a loss of income. In response to the degradation of the reef environment and the need to improve fisheries sustainability, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly has adopted the proposals of Shoals Rodrigues and has embarked on a strategy to develop a network of marine reserves to allow degraded habitats to recover and fish stocks to regenerate. The 4 marine reserves, outputs of a previous GEF-SGP funded project, were proclaimed in April 2007, however the development of alternative livelihoods for fishers is vital to ensuring the success of the marine reserves in Rodrigues. Rivière Banane will be the first marine reserve to be demarcated and 63% percent of households in Rivière Banane are dependent on fishing to support their family; without other alternatives, fishers will have no choice but to continue to fish illegally within the reserve. The project is in line with the current priorities of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) as it highlights the beauty of the underwater world in Rodrigues to tourists and will remove fishing pressure from the lagoon; it also builds upon a previous successful GEF-SGP project by Shoals Rodrigues which developed the network of marine reserves in Rodrigues.
+ View more

Partnership

French GEF, Indian Ocean Commission, RRA, etc.

Grantee Contact

Mrs. Sabrina Meunier
Phone: 8311225
Email: admin@shoals.intnet.mu
 

Address

Riviere Banane Rodrigues

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