Aquaculture farms in Mauritius are producing up to 3000 tonnes of seafood products per year, most of which are being exported to European countries. The increased seafood export is a boost to our economy and greater job opportunities are created in the fishing industry. These are the benefits that the marine farms have to offer to our island. However, there is much more to what we see and hear. Most of the time, no one talks about the negative sides of a lucrative industry. In fact, the operation of the aquaculture farm in Mahebourg is destroying our marine ecosystem and jeopardising the lives of local fishermen.
Here is how the aquaculture farm is destroying the natural beauty of our island. Farmers add chemical products to the food they give to the fish to boost their growth and improve their reproductive abilities. The marine farms provide a breeding area for bacteria and our coral reefs are left under threat from the chemicals released. Not only are we destroying the natural habitat of the aquatic animals in our lagoons, but, we are also promoting the death of some of them through our careless actions. The fish bred in these farms feed on other small aquatic animals which are gradually decreasing in number. Yet, we are still ignoring the danger signals and we continue to put a whole marine ecosystem at risk.
The aquatic animals are harvested using nets and during the process, even the smallest fish are trapped. The life and reproduction cycles of the aquatic animals are disrupted, leading to a decline in the number of fish available to local fishermen. The fish stocks in our lagoons will in fact, not last forever. We need to realise that supporting aquaculture practices will lead to the loss of jobs in the long run and will also pose a threat to our local communities and future generations.
With a massive influx of tourists every year, Mauritius is investing immensely in the tourism sector. Five star hotels can now be found along our coasts to accommodate the greater number of tourists. Unfortunately, aquaculture farms will slow down activities in this sector as they attract sharks in our lagoons. There is the risk that this will eventually endanger the lives of local inhabitants and tourists. But, how can we provide opportunities for water sports to tourists and allow the tourism sector to flourish when our lagoons are not safe?
Now that we know the truth about marine farms, we can still act to remediate to this situation. Sadly, many will choose to ignore these destructive effects of aquaculture practices. Why? Because they believe that it is not going to affect them in any way and money is way above all of these concerns! Every day, we hear politicians discussing about sustainable development. Children are being taught about the importance of preserving our environment. Yet, when it comes to addressing and solving these environmental issues, we still find poor responses on behalf of our authorities. Is this the future we want to secure for our children? Or, will we wait until it is too late to take the actions that will protect our environment and ourselves? Wake up people! It is time for all of us to realise that our country is in danger.
We need you. Stand up, help us make a difference, and together, we will make this world a better place!