Sensitisation Coral restoration and monitoring - Mauritius and Seychelles

 

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   SADC/GIZ project on coral reef restoration and beach monitoring in Mauritius and Seychelles involving secondary school students

 

 The negative impacts of climate change on key socio-sectors, natural earth systems and resources in the South West Indian Ocean are already being felt. The only option of countries in the region is to develop adaptation strategies and plans to cope with them. One key sector relevant in the context of the Republic of Mauritius is the coastal zone. One direct consequence is coral mortality and bleaching, which is decreasing the ability of the coral reef barrier protecting the sandy beaches from erosion and affecting coral living resources.  

 2. The project

The one year project “Engaging youth and community in coral reef restoration and beach monitoring” is being implemented by ADD within the framework of the SADC/GIZ Project  “Transboundary Use and Protection of Natural Resources in the SADC Region”  to contribute to the rehabilitation of coral reefs and protection and conservation of beach resources. It is a joint Mauritius - Seychelles project with Mauritius focusing on coral farming and Seychelles on beach monitoring.  It terminated in February 2015.

 2.1  Objectives of the project

The objectives are to:

·         Enhance sensitization of students on climate change and its impacts and advocate effective measures to be taken to mitigate and adapt to them

·         Conduct interviews by students in order to gather indigenous information about the changes in beach profile and coral reef status over the last decades.

·         Engage school students and local community namely women, skippers and fishermen in coral farming in Mauritius and in beach monitoring in Seychelles to gain hands-on practical experience and become ambassadors to promote the conservation and protection of coastal resources and ecosystems in the face of climate change

·         Promote an exchange programme between the two countries to share experience and knowledge gained during the implementation of the project.

 2.2  Participants in the project

The project was initiated by ADD. In Mauritius about 10 students from Gaetan Raynal Secondary School from the upper form are participating in the programme. Technical assistance and support is being provided by the Mauritius Oceanography Institute, The Ministry of Fisheries and the NGO Coral Reef Conservation as well as experts from ADD and GASAT. The owner of Hotel Tamarin at Tamarin has kindly provided some space for the installation of an aquarium for the coral farming component, in view of its tourist attractive and education aspects.

GIZ, a German Organisation, is funding the project in the context of the SADC environmental programme. GIZ Experts visited Mauritius and Seychelles in July 2014 to provide guidance and monitor progress. Their second visit is planned at the end of February 2015. 

 2.3  Activities

The activities implemented include:

 

  • ·         Sensitisation programme with presentation on marine resources, in particular on coral reefs and coral farming by the NGO Reef Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries  and Mauritius Oceanography Institute
  • ·         Guided visit of the Blue Bay Marine Park in the south using a glass bottom boat to observe the different coral species and coral reef ecosystems.
  • ·         Visit of school students and local community members to Albion Fisheries Research Centre of the Ministry of Fisheries for briefing on land-based coral nurseries.
  • ·         A 2 day visit at Anse La Raie with activities on collection of water sample at different sites and analysis in the Laboratory under the guidance of scientists from the NGO Reef Conservation.  Other activities included  a visit in a glass bottom boat to the coral site monitored regularly by the Reef Conservation, mangrove area and wetlands at Anse La Raie. The four groups of students made a presentation on their respective findings at the end of the second day.  
  • The location of an aquarium at hotel Tamarin for coral farming. The students, with the help of an MOI officer, were shown how to cut coral into fragments and glue them on concrete blocks before being transferred to the aquarium for growth.
  • ·         Production of brochures, posters and flyers for wide distribution. A documentary on the implementation of the project is under preparation.
  • ·         Organisation of a visit to Seychelles including 3 students from 26 to 31 January 2015. The visit provided an opportunity to the Mauritian students to showcase their activities on coral farming and learn what has been done by the Seychelles students on beach monitoring. Two students and a school teacher from Seychelles are expected to visit Mauritius at the beginning of February.
  • ·         Organisation of a closing ceremony with the Minister of Education as main guest in the presence of high officials from concerned Ministries and Institutions at the end of February 2015. An exhibition on the project at the Gaetan Raynal School is also being considered in March 2015.