Community-Based Coral Farming & Voluntary Marine Conservation Area
Community-Based Coral Farming & Voluntary Marine Conservation Area
Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems in the world accommodating a rich
biodiversity of corals, fish, shellfish and many other marine species. They also provide
valuable ecosystem services including fisheries habitat, food, jobs, tourism, recreational
opportunities along with coastal protection in shallow coastal waters (Albert et al., 2012).
However, coral reefs are threatened worldwide by an increasing array of natural and
anthropogenic factors including ocean acidification, coral blasting and dredging, mass
bleaching events, sedimentation, overfishing and increased sea temperatures. The main
causes of these factors are unsustainable fishing, pollution as well as global climate
change (IPCC, 2007). It is estimated that about 20 % of the world coral reefs have been
already lost, another 15 % are seriously threatened with loss projected in the next 10-20
years and 20 % in 20 to 40 years (Wilkinson, 2008). Coral reef ecosystems in Mauritius
are in a seriously degraded status. Indeed, “the entire Mauritius lagoon is considered as
environmentally sensitive due to the vulnerability of coral reef, sea-grass, and algae
beds” (GEF/SGP, 2011). Mauritius Reefs have been seriously impacted due to recurring
climate-induced bleaching. In recent years some lagoon reefs have even lost more than
50%-60% of their live coral cover (Moothien Pillay et al., 2002; McClanahan et al., 2005;
Moothien Pillay et al., 2012).
In recognition of these threats, Eco-Sud, a registered Non-Governmental Organization
(NGO), will be seeking out the services of the Mauritius Oceanographic Institute (MOI), a
parastatal body falling under the aegis of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine
Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Island, propose to establish a communitybased
project in the Grand Port Lagoon. MOI will provide consultancy services for the
project. The main goal of the project is to locally enhance communities’ capacity to
contribute to management, conservation and rehabilitation of coral reefs ‘ecosystems in
order to improve their resilience for sustainable livelihoods and economic development.
This goal will be achieved through various objectives in constant collaboration with key
stakeholders including local communities. The implementation of in-situ coral nurseries
will nurture coral fragments to facilitate the growth and expansion of coral cover in at-risk
areas within the lagoon. It is estimated that 5000 reared coral fragments will be
transplanted at damaged and degraded local reef sites. The responsibility for technical
and scientific guidance during implementation and monitoring of the project. The
creation of Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCAs) will be another objective of
this project to help address overharvesting and anthropogenic degradation on marine
ecosystems. Both community-based initiatives will promote conservation and
rehabilitation of threatened coral reefs. It will enhance coral reef integrity, stability and
aesthetics by increasing the abundance and average size of reef species. It will maintain
coral reef ecosystem function increasing coastal resiliency and adaptability to emerging
threats and climate change. This project will benefit various stakeholders, support local
livelihoods and deliver food security, sustainable fisheries and, economic development
including tourism that will in turn act as a key engine for socio-economic security welfare
for the current and future generations.
Moreover, ensuring local communities’ involvement in managing the resources upon
which they depend through continuous and constant participation strategies is crucial for
the successful implementation of the project. Involving stakeholders in planning and
implementation including monitoring and enforcement, will build local capacity,
interaction, and communication, all of which are critical to make the project efficient and
sustainable. This process will tailor management activities and decisions-making based
on local and traditional knowledge and will encourage voluntary compliance that
improves conservation of coral reef ecosystems.
Eco-Sud will take up the responsibility for promotion of community outreach and
educational programs as well as ecotourism-related activities that go along reef
conservation will be an important part of this project. Proposed activities will include
schools trips coupled with environmental education activities with local schools, public
outreach through informative brochures, newspapers and websites as well as
ecotourism activities in collaboration with dive centres, speed boat and glass bottom
boats operators incorporating conservation activities for local marine resources.
To conclude, the project meets at least one of the 7 Strategic Initiatives of GEF
Operational Phase 6 (OP6) in that it addresses Component 1: Community Landscape
and Seascape Conservation which aims to improve conservation and sustainable use,
and management of important terrestrial and coastal/marine ecosystems through
implementation of community based landscape/seascape approaches (GEF SGP OP 6
Country Programme Strategy (CPS)). It will address the 3 following SGP OP6 CPS
targets: Fostering coral farming; Promoting sustainable livelihoods projects in ecotourism;
and, Increasing public awareness and community participation in conservation
efforts. ‘Climate Change” and “Biodiversity” goals have been put forward by the UNDP’s
GEF-SGP to increase carbon sequestration and mitigate ecosystem degradation that
affects human welfare. Healthy coral reefs in Mauritius significantly contribute to tourism,
fisheries, and shoreline protection, all three of which are vital aspects of the country’s
prosperity, and are identified by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as
critical features of GEF-SGP’s focus. The project rely on building and strengthening
capacity through awareness and access to information and knowledge and empowering
communities through participation in management activities including enforcement and
monitoring as critical approach for the project success as highlighted by SGP
Target area of operations
The Grand Port lagoon is situated in the South-East of the Island of Mauritius (Republic
of Mauritius), in the Western Indian Ocean. It comprises three Marine Protected Areas
that have been implemented and are managed by the Ministry of Fisheries: Blue Bay
Marine Park (Ramsar site) and the two fishing reserves. The area is also located close
to the Pointe D’Esny Wetlands, another Ramsar Site.The Grand Port Lagoon is the
targeted area for the VMCA and coral farming project.
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Project Snapshot

Area Of Work:
Climate Change Mitigation
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 36,975.91
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 26,376.64
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

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

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