With a vast EEZ and a coastline approximately 322 km long, Mauritius has a wealth of interconnected ecosystems of sandy beaches, rocky shores, near-shore wetlands and mangroves, five types of corals, and all associated marine life.
The coral reefs surrounding the island Mauritius are approximately 150 km long, of which there are five types namely: fringing reefs, patch reefs, atolls, reef flats and barrier reefs. Fringing coral reefs occur in shallow waters near to land and encircle the Mauritius island, thus protecting it from the sea. Patch coral reefs occur in relatively shallow waters where the underlying seabed has been close enough to the surface for corals to grow. Atolls are ring shaped islands or coral islands. The Mauritian offshore islands of the St. Brandon archipelago include a group of 22 atolls.
Biodiversity is rich in Mauritius, which boasts over 160 genera of marine algae. The Mauritius herbarium has a collection of more than three hundred marine algae. Over 36 species of seaweeds have been identified in Mauritian waters, including Enteromorpha, Ulva, Sargassum, Caulerpa sp. Padina and Halimeda.
Rodrigues, for its part, has 493 fish species, 175 gastropod species, 104 species of algae, 109 bivalve species, 138 coral species, 74 species of echinoderms and 41 bryozoan species.
Mauritius has two species of mangrove, namely Rhizopora mucronata and Bruguiera gymnorhiza, and the total mangrove cover is estimated at around 181 ha.
There are over 340 species of fish identified and recorded in the waters of Mauritius.
Republic of Mauritius (2016). Third National Communication: Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Republic of Mauritius, Port Louis