Eco-Sud launched the Blue Lagoon programme in 2010 with a direct objective: restore and preserve ecological and biological integrity in the Blue Bay and Pointe d’Esny regions. Through various projects, this programme supports the efforts of several other local initiatives to ensure these unique environments continue to thrive.
Mauritius Marine Guide
What is it about? Training that will allow participants to gain valuable knowledge and skills that will enable them to organize guided and educational tours/experiences in the marine environment.
Purpose: Promote a responsible code of conduct amongst guides, bringing awareness to those involved (tourists, fishermen, tour operators...) by transmitting knowledge, protecting the natural resources and helping local communities to become autonomous.
More info: This programme was set up in partnership with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and is supported by the Tourism Authority. It is also recognised by the MQA.
What is it? Create coral nurseries. Over time, the coral fragments will form colonies which will then be transplanted to a damaged site in the Grand Port lagoon.
Purpose? To restore the coral reef ecosystem.
What has been achieved so far? We expect the spread of 1000 coral colonies in the Blue Bay Marine Park and an increase of fishes.
More info: The project, funded by SGP GEF UNDP, started in 2017 in collaboration with the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC) and the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI).
Voluntary Marine Conservation Area
What is it? Sites that were selected in the Pointe d’Esny Lagoon, by those in the marine field and local community life, to end all extraction and destruction activities.
Purpose: Help the restoration of marine life and biodiversity in these zones and also to ensure the reproduction and survival of species so that their safety is ensured.
Today’s assessments: Four herbarium species have been reported in the VMCA as well as several young and adult fish species, such as the shoemaker and the parrot fish. This observation shows that seagrass is an important area for the cycle of these species.
What is it? The lagoon and marine park surveillance at Blue Bay to evaluate the state of health and diversity of the coral and fish species, and to record the human activity there.
Purpose: To obtain indications about the health status of the whole lagoon. Certain signs, such as coral bleaching or the presence of invasive species, can be detected quickly thanks to the constant surveillance of the lagoon therefore allowing appropriate measures to be swiftly taken.
Today’s assessments: The lagoon surveillance has allowed us to demonstrate that the Mahebourg fishing reserve helps to protect the corals and fishes due to their abundance and diversity in comparison to the exterior of the reserve.
What is it? An underwater surveillance programme for hawksbill turtles, using photo identification.
Purpose: To try and determine the fluctuations of different populations of hawksbill turtles in the Blue Bay Marine Protected Area (BBMPA), their sex, and the use of the BBMPA by the individuals.
Today’s assessments: Tortoise surveillance began in April 2018. In nine months, 24 tortoises were identified. Only hawksbill turtles were encountered and a green tortoise was released in collaboration with the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC).
More info: The hawksbill turtle is an endangered species. Despite the observation of specimens in Mauritian waters, it was difficult to confirm the status of their population due to lack of nesting attempts.
What is it? Awareness campaigns for children using education and informative methods.
Purpose: Educate children about the marine environment, its conservation and protection.
Today’s assessments: Between 2010 and 2017, about 1500 children were educated on the marine environment and human impacts. In 2018, the educational program targeted five schools in the Grand Port area and approximately 268 students received a general presentation on marine ecosystems.
What is it? Awareness campaign for the general public.
Purpose: To explain the importance of the coastal and marine ecosystems and the negative impact of human activity on these environments.
Today’s assessments: In 2018, we participated in various events including: an awareness campaign at the University of Mauritius, different meetings with fishermen as part of the seasonal closure of ourite (octopus) fishing, the planting of mangroves at Pointe Jerome and the Ocean Active Festival.
Volunteering and internships
Short-term volunteers participate in reef monitoring in the Blue Bay Marine Park and Pointe d'Esny Lagoon. The projects you may be asked to contribute to are listed below. Most activities depend on weather and sea conditions.
- Lagoon monitoring
- Marine turtles monitoring
- Coral farming and voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA)
- Beach clean-up and mangroves
- Collaborative project on marine turtles
What skills and experience will you acquire?
By taking part in this program, you will be able to improve your knowledge of the marine environment. This program is focused on:
- Providing a good understanding of marine ecosystems.
- Enabling to identify different species of corals and fishes in the oceans around Mauritius.
- Studying the current anthropogenic issues affecting the coral reef ecosystem globally, as well as in the Blue Bay and Mauritius area.
It is worth noting that various training courses about preservation will be provided through theoretical and practical workshops.
Long-term training course
You can also apply for a long-term internship, if you have the necessary skills and experience. You should be able to commit to a two to five months internship. Here is a list of openings available:
- Internship in lagoon monitoring
- Volunteer Coordination Internship
- Coral Farming Intern
- Turtle Monitoring Intern
- Human activity trainee
As a Project Coordinator/Assistant, your main duties will be:
- Lead a team of volunteers. These volunteers will need to be trained to conduct transect surveys in the area.
- Record the quantity and diversity of fishes at several monitoring sites.
- Track fluctuations in the benthic community over time. This information will then be entered into our coral and fish monitoring database, which you will also be in charge for updating.
- Monitor levels of illegal fishing activities in the area. This means making patrols along the coast and on the water as well as reporting your sightings to the local Coast Guards.
- You will be responsible for maintenance of the boat you use. You will need to coordinate with one of our captains to organize your monitoring.
As a Volunteer Coordination Intern, your main tasks will be as follows:
- Coordinate short-term volunteers’ groups who join the Blue Lagoon and Coral Reef monitoring programmes throughout the year.
- Keep a record of information such as fishes’ populations and coral status (monitoring activities in which volunteers participate).
- If necessary, you will also help eradicate threats to reefs and fishes.
Overall, you will be in charge for taking care of the project volunteers. You will make sure they do their job and you will be at their disposal to help them and show them what they can do to help them to achieve their goals for the projects.
Your main duties include planning and managing day-to-day activities which include:
- Implementation of the coral nursery.
- Maintenance of the nursery through cleaning.
- Repairs as required.
- Write reports.
- Data collection (water parameters, size of coral fragments and so on).
- Transplantation phase.
We are still in the early stages of the project. This means that the main activities involve collecting the required data, analyzing it, planning weekly maintenance activities and monitoring the coral nursery site.
As a trainee, you need to be a good diver and team leader. You must also know about statistical analysis and have a good scientific understanding of the marine ecosystem, especially the coral reef ecosystem.
As a Marine Turtle Monitoring Intern, your first mission will be to lead and train volunteers. This will include:
- Conduct marine turtle surveys in the Blue Bay Marine Park.
- Estimate the actual population of turtles in the Blue Bay MPA.
- the degree of turtle residence in the MPA.
- time spent away from the MPA.
- the importance of the MPA as a feeding site for turtles.
- stressors on the population.
Data and photographs will need to be collected and recorded correctly to obtain as much information as possible about the behaviour of the different species living in the Marine Park.
You will do this from a glass-bottom boat or by snorkelling. You must, therefore, be a good swimmer and snorkeller.
The Blue Bay lagoon contains both Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and fisheries reserves. They intend to restrict fishing activity and preserve the marine environment. Although regulations and rules are put up, not everyone follow them, and marine wildlife remains threatened.
We conduct a human activity monitoring program aimed to track illegal fishing in the area. Excursions take place twice a week at 7 a.m. by boat, kayak, SUP or beach patrol. All data is collected and stored on an Excel spreadsheet. From there they are analysed and summarized in a monthly report which can be sent to the local government.
General skills and qualifications required:
- Good Microsoft Excel and Word skills.
- Be very at ease in swimming (for courses focused on turtles, coral and lagoon).
- Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
- Obtain a student visa (we can help you through the process). If you are currently a student, you can stay up to five months and up to three months with a tourist visa.
Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our volunteer and internship programme.
National Turtles Platform
What is it? A common platform set up for the protection of marine turtles in Mauritius.
Purpose: Sensitize the local community on the importance of marine turtles and to provide guidelines to be respected during the species nesting.
Today’s assessments: There is still a lot of work to be done in order to preserve the turtles that live and wish to come and lay eggs in Mauritius.
Promoting sustainable fishery
What is it? A national awareness programme to support the second temporary closure of the octopus’ fishery in Mauritius.
Purpose? To educate and sensitize fishermen, consumers and coastal communities on sustainable fishery and enable local communities to actively participate in the co-management of the octopus’ fishery.
Today’s assessments: Since xxxx, octopus fishing can be legally practiced in Mauritius between the months of X to X. This activity, which is now regulated, helps to stimulate the reproduction of the species.