Permanent Mooring Buoys
The reefs ecosystems which surround the island are fragile. They are subject to various sources of stresses for instance, natural (forces like cyclones, seasonal rise in temperature…) or anthropogenic (such as pollution, physical degradation etc.) Unfortunately it is impossible to put in place measures to fight against natural forces. However, sustainable development and management programmes can be developed in order to minimize anthropogenic pressures.
Nautical leisure activities, and most particularly scuba diving,
cause a daily concentration of boats on specific sites reputed for
their magnificent underwater landscape and for their biodiversity.
However, the concentration of boats on these anchorage sites
represents a serious threat to the local ecosystem.
At each anchorage manoeuvre, the anchor drags and then grips. The anchor`s chain, under the influence of the waves and wind, drags and sweeps out the whole undersea area around the boat. The devastation caused to all forms of life on the reef, is serious and extremely dramatic.
There exists a technical solution that can help to reconciliate both the development of nautical activities and the protection of the marine environment. It is the permanent mooring buoy.
This buoy is composed of a permanent anchor, fixed at the bottom of the sea and linked to a surface buoy which allows many boats to be moored to it.
A first programme was initiated by the MMCS and Shoals of
Capricorn Programme in the year 2000 with the funding of the
UNDP. It has given the opportunity to install 4 mooring
buoys, which includes 2 in the Grand Bay Aquarium and 2 more in the
On completion of this project, the Ministry of Environment requested that the project be extended nationally. The Marine Conservation Consortium (Reef Conservation Mauritius) was created in 2003 in order to undertake this project and was also funded by the UNDP.
In 2006, with the increase of the Dolphin Watching activity, it was observed that the reefs in the Tamarin/Black River region were degrading very rapidly due to uncontrolled and inappropriate anchorage of boats.
In fact, the tour operators generally propose outings which
include the observations of dolphins, followed by snorkelling on
the reefs in the region.
Therefore, the installation of these permanent mooring buoys would help decrease the degradation of the reefs linked to this activity.
The MMCS, in collaboration with Reef Conservation Mauritius has installed 4 new mooring buoys on frequently visited diving sites, 2 at La Preneuse and 2 at Harmony.
Of course, awareness programmes have been organised in order to allow tour operators to understand how they should anchor their boats to these buoys and further their knowledge on the coral ecology.
Further to the requests of users and considering the increasing damage caused to coralline reefs on the west coast, other mooring buoys will soon be installed and the project will be funded by the TOTAL Foundation.