United Nations
Expansion of Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas in Roches Noires and Anse La Raie Mauritius (supported by GEF SGP & implemented by UNDP)
by Reef Conservation (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
In an effort to conserve coral reefs in the lagoons of Mauritius, Reef Conservation has been designing and developing an innovative concept of Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas (VMCA). The project “Critical Coastal Ecosystem Conservation Through A Community Integrated Approach” is suported by GEF SGP implemented by the UNDP. These selected sites in the lagoon are where communities agree that no extractive or destructive activities will be done. Sustainable use of marine ecosystems is favoured through implementation of best practices for the maintenance and improvement of ecosystem health and diversity. This project brings together different stakeholders relying on marine resources to actively participate in the protection of the marine environment. Two VMCAs have been established in Mauritius through project actions in Roches Noires (RN) 8 hectares, and successful replication in Anse la Raie (ALR) 50 hectares, where no traditional stewardship for marine resources previously existed.
The project continues with new funding and the new actions which aim to protect coastal and marine ecosystems through a network of interlinked Voluntary Conservation Areas (VCAs), which include coastal and marine ecosystems, co-managed by community, resource users and Reef Conservation and recognised by the government as multi-use areas where sustainable activities are successfully conducted. The action will be focused in coastal regions where Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas (VMCAs) are established.
The first objective of the proposed action is the protection of healthy and critical coastal ecosystems in Roches Noires and Anse La Raie. Improved community awareness together with establishing and expending baseline data, will lead to the identification of critical ecosystems that have the potential to be integrated in a network of VCAs. The first expected result is to identify as Voluntary Conservation Areas (VCAs) at least 50 hectares or 0.5km2 in total of 2 new coastal habitats for both regions (RN and ALR).
The second objective is to ensure the sustainability of the existing Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas. To optimize the protection of these boundary-less systems, it is planned to extend the areas under protection as VMCAs to include other parts of the marine habitats in Anse la Raie and Roches Noires and create a network of areas likely to be more representative of the natural system, increasing the potential for sustainability of the action. The second expected result is to extend the existing VMCAs by 30 hectares in both regions (RN and ALR).

It is also planned to train 15 persons from the VMCA committees in the fields of communication and ecosystem management, to support the development of adaptive management plans for the VMCA sites with the participation of the VMCA committees. Education and sensitization is also a major component of this project and 2 community events targeting 100 persons as well as 4 youth sessions will be carried out as part of the public awareness campaign.

To further encourage good practices the project will develop a VMCA eco-certification for sustainable activities carried out in the existing VMCAs and the certification of at least 8 boat operators.
The project will also be promoted within the regional scientific and conservation community through sharing of results and participation in conferences.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Community or Locally Managed Marine Areas
  • increase the Voluntary Marine Conservation Area in Anse La Raie from 50ha to 80ha and increase VMCA site in Roches Noires from 8ha to 38ha
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Data access and sharing
April 2018
15 persons from the VMCA committees trained in communication and ecosystem management and adaptive management plans completed for both VMCAs
February 2018
Existing VMCAs are extended by 30 hectares or 0.3 km in total for both regions of Anse La Raie and Roches Noires
March 2018
Two community events are held, targeting 100 persons per event and 4 youth sensitisation sessions of approximately 25 persons each held in Anse La Raie and Roches Noires totaling 200 youth targeted.
October 2017
At least 50 hectares or 0.5 km of 2 new coastal habitats identified as a VCA in both regions and community sensitisation
Financing (in USD)
50,000 USD
In-kind contribution
Boat usage for monitoring and data collection, meeting room and resources, provided by the private sector, dive and scientific equipment provided by Reef Conservation
Other, please specify
Community members time to participate on a voluntary basis after hours and during the day
Staff / Technical expertise
Reef Staff not directly responsible for the project included in the outreach programme of the project and other logistical aspects
Basic information
Time-frame: November 2016 - July 2018
Reef Conservation - NGO, Small Grants Programme of the UNDP, Mauritius - United Nation Entity, Attitude Resorts - Private Sctor, Princes Tuna - Private Sector, Roches Noires Eco Marine - CSO, Anse La Raie VMCA Committee - CSO, Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping - Government
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Kathy Young, Managing Director, kyoung@reefconservation.mu, +2302626775
Pereybere, Mauritius
Other SDGs
United Nations