Monitoring and Survey

Monitoring the health status of the coral reefs in the south west Indian Ocean

For the island states in the south west Indian Ocean, coral reefs represent an important source of revenue on which the fishery and tourism sectors are dependent. They constitute a very productive but vulnerable ecosystem, which indicates the health status of the lagoons and coastal regions as a whole.

The follow up of the project is supervised by the Regional Environment Programme, Indian Ocean Commission and the European Union. It forms part of the "Gestion Intégrée de la Zone Côtière (Integrated Coastal Zone Management)" program, at a national and regional level, taking into consideration all the people involved in this area. All this in order to reach a harmonious and sustainable utilisation of marine resources.

These actions are conducted jointly by state bodies, para-statal organisations and local NGOs.

The sampling methods used are an adaptation of those used by international networks for the follow up of coral reefs (Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network). Their objectives are: the establishment of a punctual health status of the reefs as well as the follow up of the evolution of this ecosystem and a study on the impact of natural and anthropogenic factors on the zone.

The techniques used are founded based on non-destructive observation methods which avoid disturbing the biosphere (living environment) of populations already living there. These are: exploration by diving without oxygen bottles, linear transects and quadrat techniques.

For each island of the Indian Ocean Commission, study zones have been defined according to criterias specific to each country. In Mauritius, five sectors have been established around the island: Albion (west), Pointe aux Sables (west), Anse la Raie (north-north-east), Bambous Virieux (east) and Blue Bay (south east). The MMCS is reponsible for the Anse la Raie sector.