Empowering the SEMPA Fisher Community Through Eco-Tourism Development
Empowering the SEMPA Fisher Community Through Eco-Tourism Development


There are growing concerns to develop alternative livelihoods to support the communities affected by the creation of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the southern lagoon of Rodrigues. The most important community is composed by 950 registered fishermen from nine fish landing stations. The MPA will promote the sustainable management of the lagoon limiting to a certain extent the exploitation of its natural resources. Therefore, this project aims at providing an alternative source of income for the fisher community of the southern region. This activity will reduce the impacts on marine biodiversity by decreasing fishing pressure in the lagoon, allowing fish stocks and degraded habitats to recover while preserving healthy coral cover which are home to endemic species of coral and fish. The project also aims at raising awareness on the need to protect Rodrigues marine environment, so promoting marine conservation and fishery sustainability. The project will be undertaken by ‘Association des Pêcheurs du Parc Marin du Sud’, a new NGO formed as a result of collaborations between the fisher community of SEMPA and RRA. Fishers’ earnings from the sea are expected to decline as a result of reduced fishing ground of the new MPA. This project is complementary with other alternative livelihood project to develop a sustainable farming within the SEMPA as part of initiative for the sustainable management of watershed of the area.

Fishing is one of the largest employment sector in 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 RRA with co – funding from the UNDP/GEF has approved the implementation of the project ‘Partnership for Marine Protected Areas in Mauritius and Rodrigues’ to allow degraded habitats to recover and fish stocks to regenerate. The development of alternative livelihoods for fishers is vital to ensure the success of the SEMPA and is an issue which was not addressed under the MSP project. Hence, with the future implementation of the management plan for the SEMPA, it is clear that the fishers will be largely affected and this may lead to conflicts. To avoid any such conflict, the RRA is seeking new avenues for the fisher to earn their living other than from the sea. The regrouping of fishers for registration as associations presents an excellent opportunity for the fishers to tap funds from various funding agencies so as to develop alternative livelihood activities and help for the sustainable management of the SEMPA. In addition, this project being submitted to GEF-SGP is a Glass Bottom boat project which will help highlighting the beauty of the underwater world in Rodrigues to tourists and will reduce fishing pressure from the lagoon.

This project aims at promoting the development of ecotourism in SEMPA, increasing the number of tourists visiting the southern region 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 activities to provide facilities 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.

The UNDP/GEF SEMPA project is currently undertaking a socio-economic study which will be used to assess the needs and potential problems, and attitudinal changes towards the marine environment. The Marine Tourist Guide Course will be provided to members of the SEMPA fisher community which includes training in snorkelling techniques, lifesaving, first-aid, boat-handling and customer care as well as marine ecology. The training in Marine Tourist Guide has to be contracted out to a relevant institution or organisation with experience in the field. A glass bottom boat will be commissioned and purchased and will be used to conduct snorkelling and glass-bottom boat excursions for tourists and Rodriguans visitors. The SEMPA includes popular snorkelling and diving site including ‘Couzoupa’, 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 permanent mooring buoys will be placed as part of the Management Plan to prevent damage from anchors during snorkelling trips. The visitors will have the chance to visit the SEMPA Visitors Centre established at the berthing station under the MSP project and thus contributing to bring in even more tourists into the village.

During the proposed SGP project, education sessions will be provided to members of the local community in SEMPA as well as to local tour operators and hotel owners emphasising the importance of Marine Protected Areas for marine conservation and fisheries sustainability and the need for responsible tourism. The NGO intends to collaborate with the SEMPA Management unit by providing the glass bottom boat during educational sessions, 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 Rs2,094,447 of which Rs1,541,747 is requested from the GEF-SGP. The remaining costs involves the commitment of Association des Pêcheurs du Parc Marin du Sud of a total in kind contribution of Rs345,600 and South East Marine Protected Area(PMU) has committed a sum of Rs207,000.

Loading map...

Project Snapshot

Association des Pecheurs du Parc Marin du Sud, Rodrigues
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 49,959.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 17,825.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

Photo Gallery

Project Characteristics and Results
Gender Focus
Both men and women fishers
Notable Community Participation
THE SOUTH EAST MARINE PROTECTED AREA The South East Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) of Rodrigues is being developed by the Rodrigues Regional Assembly with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Facility (UNDP GEF) under the MSP project ‘Partnerships for Marine Protected Areas in Mauritius and Rodrigues’. The aims of the ‘Partnerships for Marine Protected Areas in Mauritius and Rodrigues’ project are to: • Develop an enabling policy and institutional framework to sustainably co-manage MPAs throughout the Republic of Mauritius • Develop and adapt innovative co-management arrangements for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at a representative demonstrative site in Rodrigues. The SEMPA has developed a consultative co management process with the various stakeholders and the fisher community through a community based committees (the Community Resource Committees at a village level and the Community Advisory Council which regroups representative of the village level committees so as to participate in the co-management process). While the importance of reducing the number of fishers on the lagoon is recognised within the SEMPA management process there are no resources within the SEMPA project to address this particular issue, or livelihoods issues in general. This presents an excellent opportunity to link up this FSP GEF project with the GEF SGP.
+ View more



Grantee Contact

Mr System Administrator


Mr. Zameer, President
Port Sud Est , Rodrigues ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
(230) 213 53 84
(230) 212 14 11


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

Country Website