Improving Management Effectiveness for the Marine Protected Areas of Rodrigues
Improving Management Effectiveness for the Marine Protected Areas of Rodrigues
The goal of this project is to support the effective management of the Marine Protected Areas of Rodrigues (Indian Ocean). Rodrigues is a semi-autonomous dependency of the Republic of Mauritius, situated within the Mascarene Archipelago, a recognized global biodiversity hotspot. The island is of volcanic origin and is encompassed by an extensive fringing reef, with a wide shallow lagoon that covers an area of 240 km2. Intensive fishing pressure in the lagoon has resulted in drastic declines of both fin-fish and invertebrate landings and degradation of lagoon habitats. In recognition of the status of the marine resources, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly (RRA) has gazetted new MPAs and efforts to improve the management of the lagoon’s living marine resources are gaining momentum. The new MPAs include four marine reserves in the north (covering 24.2 km2), which were selected by the local communities with the support of the local marine NGO Shoals Rodrigues under a grant of UNDP/GEF/SGP, and gazetted in 2007, and; a larger multiple-use MPA in the south (covering 43 km2) which was co-funded by a UNDP-GEF project, and gazetted in 2009. A Marine Reserve Coordination Committee (MRCC) has been established composed of representatives of the relevant Government Authorities; representatives of the Fishers Associations; the local marine NGO (Shoals Rodrigues) and other key stakeholders. A management plan has been prepared for one of the four northern reserves (Rivière Banane); the areas have been demarcated and other activities are in progress. The proposed project will support these ongoing efforts, and in particular the MRCC’s capacity to manage the new marine reserves in the north. The project outcomes will include: (1) A final joint management plan for the four new marine reserves in the northern Rodrigues lagoon. The plan for Rivière Banane will be revised and a joint plan prepared to include the other three reserves. The planning team, consisting of a technical sub-committee of the MRCC, will draft the plan and devise cross-cutting action plans to ensure that the four sites can operate efficiently in an integrated manner. Stakeholders will continue to be consulted during this process. (2) Increased capacity in the MRCC to effectively manage the new marine reserves in the northern Rodrigues lagoon. Training will be provided in planning, monitoring and effectiveness evaluation methods, to aid decision-making and adaptive management. (3) A revised monitoring programme for the new marine reserves will be devised, to ensure that the biophysical, socio-economic and governance indicators selected are appropriate for monitoring the effectiveness of all the MPAs. The programme will engage community monitors and tour guides in monitoring. A rapid response plan will be put in place for coral bleaching and other incidents, such as a pollution/oil spills. (4) Information about the new reserves in Rodrigues will be effectively communicated to the public at the national level and more broadly within the region and internationally.

The Shoals Rodrigues Association is a non-governmental organisation whose objectives are to promote marine environmental awareness, provide training to ensure a local capacity for marine environmental research, conduct studies of different marine ecosystems, and give training to educators and trainers. The Association has access to a well equipped, purpose-built marine research, training and education centre, from which comprehensive study of the octopus fishery has been undertaken and a programme of education and training for fishers established. Additional biodiversity and oceanographic research is also ongoing. Education initiatives have targeted primary and secondary school students, teachers, youth leaders and other interested adults, and training in methods for marine environmental education and monitoring techniques has been given.

The total project cost has been calculated at Rs5, 240,780. The contribution requested from the UNDP GEF/SGP is Rs1, 574,799. Shoals Rodrigues have committed Rs448, 023, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly have committed Rs1, 734,348 and Dr Rebecca Klaus and Dr Emily Hardman have committed Rs211, 200 in kind time, tours operators Rs396,000 and UNDP/GEF/SEMPA in materials Rs74,250. RECOMAP is committing Rs. 802,160.

Project Snapshot

The Shoals Rodrigues Association
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 47,010.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 27,613.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 65,146.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
Enhance local capacity to manage MPAs effectively and adaptively through providing training in MPA evaluation methods using a defined set of social, governance and bio-physical indicators. Increased capacity of the MRC Committee to effectively manage the new marine reserves in the northern Rodrigues lagoon.
Notable Community Participation
Informal consultations with fishers, Government personnel, diving instructors, members of non-Governmental organisations and fisheries experts have determined that the need for such work is real, and their knowledge and views have been incorporated into the project design. Further consultative meetings with the fishing community at Riviere Banane has allowed Shoals Rodrigues, external consultant and Rodrigues Regional Assembly to draft a management plan for Riviere Banane Marine Reserve. Continuous work has been done with the fishers to help them with their alternatives project. And right now Shoals Rodrigues is currently involving in another alternative project, whale and dolphin watching funded by Recomap for other fishers that are affected by the northern marine reserves to find an alternative income. During the whole project there is going to be involvement if fisher associations which represent the northern villages that are affected by the marine reserves. These fishers representing their village in the workshops will help Shoals Rodrigues and Rodrigues Regional Assembly counterparts to share the whole process of the management plan to the wider fishing community and also help to get the views of the latter. The training initiatives would also aid fisher confidence in Shoals activities. By providing practical training to assist fishers in safely undertaking their work, Shoals would demonstrate through action that its Association is concerned with the welfare of fishers. By undertaking training of trainers, Shoals would promote the communication of ideas from within the community. The training in survey and monitoring methods given to fishers would increase the likelihood of participation by these groups, by equipping them with the necessary skills to be practically involved. Shoals ongoing education initiatives with young people are also an indirect method of raising the level of community participation. As the students learn about the marine environment and its protection, they communicate this knowledge to their family and friends, effectively extending the audience for awareness-raising programmes. The use of recent school leavers as volunteers to help with the workshops preparation and assist with data collection is also a useful tool, because not only is this capacity building for future stakeholders, but the fishers do not feel threatened and show a high level of co-operation. Communicate and inform the general public about planning process for the marine reserves in the north, and opportunities to engage in the consultation process. Involving local people in monitoring programmes can help to increase their sense of involvement in the MPA, as well as reduce costs in carrying out the monitoring (Obura et al., 2002). Furthermore, community members are likely to be out near the resource on a daily basis so can be used as the ‘eyes on the reef’. Shoals Rodrigues will provide training to at least 50 community monitors (5 from each of the 10 villages). The community monitors will be tasked with collecting data on fin-fish and octopus landings, and other observations. Training materials for the community monitors are currently under development for the SEMPA and these materials will be made available for use in this project.
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Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 2443


RECOMAP/ Rodrigues Regional Assembly

Grantee Contact

Mrs Sabrina Desire
Phone: +2308311225


Marine Research, Training and Education Centre
Pointe Monier , 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