In collaboration with the Mauritius Oceanography Institute, and funds from the UNDP GEF Small Grants Program, ELI Africa has successfully led a community-based coral farming project which transplanted over 5,000 coral fragments in the lagoons of Trou-Aux-Biches.
We have grown on a site in the lagoon of Trou-aux-Biches (TAB) 7500 coral fragments that we have brought to maturity and we have successfully transplanted in 5795 of these fragments in the context of a coral reef restoration project at Trou-aux-Biches. Coral reefs play a critical role in the growth and stability of local aquatic ecosystems. In turn, these habitats are the same engines of socio-economic well-being of those who depend on it. In Mauritius, healthy coral reefs contribute significantly to tourism, fisheries and coastal protection, all three being vital to the prosperity of the country. Thus, reefs contribute more than $ 700 million in revenues annually through tourism and fishing, and the cost to pay to replace these reefs for coastal protection would be about USD 1.5 billion.
Researchers put forward that the lagoons of Mauritius are considered environmentally sensitive because of the vulnerability of coral reefs, sea grass and algal beds. In Mauritius, the reefs are seriously degraded due to recurrent bleaching caused by climate change. This is how the last few years, some of our reef lagoons have lost more than 50 to 60% of live coral cover. If this loss is not stopped and even reversed, the survival of Mauritian industries and livelihoods of people who depend on them will be in danger!
Faced with these dangers, ELI Africa decided in 2012 to build coral nurseries to grow coral fragments to facilitate the growth and expansion of coral cover areas at risk of Mauritius, especially in the deeper parts of the lagoon of Trou-aux-Biches. Established in this lagoon our nurseries coral was crucial for on the one hand,to promote sustainable fisheries and a healthy marine ecosystem and, secondly, to increase coral cover as a carbon and protect local biodiversity and support and improve the local economy and economic livelihood.
Once the structures nurseries (PVC pipes attached by ropes) were set up Coral fragments were stuck there for their growth. ELI Africa volunteers and other partners inspected, cleaned and regularly removed parasites. In addition, volunteers cleaned each fragment individually coral every 6 months.
Through this coral culture of work with the GEF-SGP, ELI Africa wanted to protect and enhance the well-being of the socioeconomic restaurant TAB community health and biodiversity of local marine ecosystems. Now we want to use this project to demonstrate to other residents of TAB and our students to ELI Africa the value of their marine environment!