Coral Restoration Project

Coral reef ecosystems provide invaluable goods and services worldwide, but they are rapidly declining in the face of increasing climate and human disturbances. These irreplaceable high biodiversity areas are both a source of income and food mainly for local communities. Since 2010, through the Blue Lagoon project, Eco-Sud has been committed to restoring and preserving the coral reef ecosystem in the Blue-Bay and Grand Port areas. In 2020 our restoration actions intensified with the support of the Adaptation fund and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Discover the project

Restoring Marine Coral Reefs to Meet a Changing Climate Future

Eco-Sud is one the two NGOs which has been selected to implement, contribute and support the achievement of specific outcomes and activities in the coral restoration project at the Blue Bay Marine Park of Mauritius. The project is being directly implemented by the UNDP in collaboration with the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC) and the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) - under the aegis of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping.

The objectives of the project are listed as follows and are set to be achieved through the outcomes:

Reduce the impact of climate change on local communities and coral reef dependent economic sectors in Mauritius through the implementation of coral reef restoration with thermally-resilient corals;

Support the capacity building of fisherfolk and their families, affected by COVID-19 and the Merchant Vessel (MV) Wakashio Oil Spill related economic downturn, in the south-east region of Mauritius, in the field of coral restoration; and

Support alternative livelihoods while at the same time ensuring the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the production landscapes.
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Eco-Sud project objectives : 

  • Restoration of 1.6 ha of coral ecosystem in the Blue Bay Marine Protected Area
  • Training and support of 40 beneficiaries
  • Training of 250 participants
  • Sensibilization and awareness campaigns

Local communities at the center of the project 

Supporting local communities to protect their natural environment from harmful activities is a main concern for Eco-Sud and our project partners. Throughout the project we are actively working with communities not just by supporting restoration but also recognising their skills and knowledge. We are also building the capacity of our stakeholders so they can effectively contribute to the project.

Our restoration techniques 

To maximize the success rate of our restoration actions, we are selecting areas where healthy colonies can be sourced for later transplantation. Monitoring of coral cover, and physico-chemical parameters such as temperature, light, and pH enable us to gather information on where degradation of coral ecosystems has occurred and outlines possible sites for future rehabilitation actions. 

The harvested coral fragments are then transplanted in the ocean nurseries made of metal and rope structures, where regular maintenance is carried out to limit predation and competition. Once they have reached a certain size,  the mature fragments will be transplanted at the restoration site identified in the Blue Bay Marine Park. Regular monitoring and maintenance of the restored site are conducted. 

At the present, we are monitoring two sites at Trou Capitaine and Pointe d'Esny. The data we collected so far provide baseline information on these potential sites, before, during and after we sampled coral nubbins in these areas. Both sites observed a relatively high coral cover and healthy coral colonies, making them appropriate to harvest in the coming months. We have also observed fish species richness in those two sites with about 20 fish species recorded.  Healthy reef fish population generally signifies healthy coral reefs. Future monitoring effort will help understand trends in fish population assemblage, and we are hoping that our restoration sites match similar richness and diversity.