In executing its projects, the Nairobi Convention is collaborating with governments and other stakeholders to implement the following demonstration projects in Mauritius:
Nairobi Convention Engagement in Mauritius
WIOSAP Demonstration Projects
Seagrasses are breeding grounds, refuges, and food sources for marine life, meaning they support both biodiversity and the fisheries sector. Nevertheless, as outlined by the project proponents, seagrass meadow distribution has been receding as the tourism industry in Mauritius surges. This project aims at reducing the vulnerability of seagrass along Mauritius’s coasts by monitoring their characteristics and identifying marine sensitive areas for protection. It undertakes sediment coring at seagrass sites to determine their carbon storage capacity. Additionally, the study will produce a map showing the distribution patterns and abundance of seagrass. The project also develops techniques for seagrass planting/rehabilitation and produce an economic valuation on these habitats. Finally, the project shares knowledge and techniques on sediment coring and monitoring with other stakeholders so that these methods can be replicated elsewhere.
Proponents: Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping and partners.
Invasive species pose a major threat to the biodiversity of Ile Aux Aigrettes. Indeed, as the project proponents emphasize, the island’s native flora and fauna were nearly destroyed by the introduction of exotic species. This project restores the native terrestrial habitat and seabird community in Ile Aux Aigrettes by reintroducing the native species to the island, which would help restore the functioning of the natural ecosystem. As a result of this project, the habitats for hundreds of pink pigeons, Mauritius Fodies, and olive white-eyes are supported; fourteen hectares of land will be weeded of invasive species; and thousands of plants will be replanted – all of which increase resilience of this critical coastal ecosystem.
Proponents: Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and Birdlife International.
Coral reefs support scores of marine species and serve as sources of food, jobs and livelihoods. As an island state, Mauritius depends greatly on coral reef resources, but numerous bleaching events have caused the amount of live coral to plummet. This project seeks to address the degradation of coral reefs in three coastal villages—Le Morne, Poudre D’Or and Bambous Virieux. The project farms resilient coral species in nurseries before transplanting them in degraded reefs. To ensure sustainability, it also trains communities on rehabilitation techniques and strengthens their awareness of reef conservation. Through this project and others like it, Mauritius can help create resilient coral reefs to sustain biodiversity, help protect beaches from erosion, and support the fisheries and tourism sectors.
Proponents: Mauritius Oceanography Institute and partners.
For more on the WIOSAP demonstration projects, click here.
National Marine Ecosystem Diagnostic Analyses
In executing the SAPPHIRE project, the Nairobi Convention has initiated the updating of Mauritius’ MEDA and the Transboundary Diagnosis Analyses (TDAs), developed under the ASCLME project. The MEDAs will provide each country with an updated assessment of their ecosystems within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and also provide them with a baseline document upon which they can base their National Action Plans (NAP) for the sustainable management of marine resources.
Moreover, the scope of the MEDAs will be expanded to include assessments of land-based sources of pollution—i.e. issues addressed by SAPPHIRE’s sister project, WIOSAP –meaning that countries will have their first-ever “Ridge to Reef” assessment of their marine ecosystems. The findings will be fed into an expanded regional Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and prioritize areas of concern that can be addressed through a merged Strategic Action Programme (SAP).
The Mauritius MEDA is currently in review.
Mauritius’ Chapter in the Marine Protected Areas Outlook
The world, including Mauritius, has committed to protecting at least 10% of its marine and coastal areas by 2020 under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.5. Under the WIOSAP project, the Nairobi Convention and WIOMSA have released the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Outlook, the first-ever publication to examine the progress, challenges, and opportunities faced by states in the WIO, including Mauritius, as they strive to achieve SDG 14.5.
Oil Spill Contingency Planning
The Nairobi Convention in executing the GEF funded SAPPHIRE project will support the development of a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan in Mauritius. A consultant hired by the Nairobi Convention will engage with different stakeholders in Mauritius, and outputs from those engagements will inform an updated National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.