The vision of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping is to be an economic pillar with due regard to aquatic resources and social development for the benefit of all stakeholders. The objectives of the mangroves propagation programme are to plant mangroves in denuded area to increase coastal and ocean resilience and enhance fisheries resources.
Mangroves are trees that grow in the region between the land and the sea and exhibit special adaptations to survive in this harsh ecosystem such as extensive and prominent root systems to maximize gaseous exchange. Among the 54-70 mangrove species that occur worldwide, only two species are found in Mauritius namely Bruguiera gymnorrhiza and Rhizophora mucronata both being in the Rhizophoraceae Family (common name: Red Mangrove).
Mangroves help to stabilise substrate, buffer against flooding, are natural bio-filters, form a rich ecosystem, are crucial for commercial fisheries success by acting as nursery ground and are actively involved in the recycling of nutrients. They protect the coast against wave action which otherwise would lead to erosion. The mangrove roots trap inland sediment runoff thus acting as barriers for marine life upstream such as coral reefs. Mangrove forests are also being highly considered as a climate-change-mitigation option around the world.
Before the 1990's, large expanses of mangroves were cleared on the island in the name of development. About 70% of commercial fishes depend on mangrove sites during their juvenile stages, so healthy mangroves are vital as many people in Mauritius depend on fisheries (fishing, crab catching) to earn a living. In this respect, the Ministry started a mangrove propagation programme including sensitisation in 1995 so as to protect and restore the denuded areas. Much of the swamps have thus been saved and today mangrove propagation are encouraged throughout the island. Since June 1995, many propagules have been planted on the west, north, south and east coasts amounting to more than 400, 000 seedlings covering an area of more than 200, 000 m2 to date.
Being the mangroves guardian, as this Ministry has for mandate its protection, we have as obligation to know the current status of our mangroves, and if the rehabilitation and conservation exercises have been successful so far to know the way forward. It is imperative to map the regions where mangroves are present. Moreover, the mapping and estimation of their distribution should be carried out on a species-basis to understand the most appropriate areas where each species is thriving so as to promote their successful propagation. Furthermore, the Ministry would continue with its sensitisation of the public on the importance of mangroves using improved tools.
To add up to the propagation initiative, the legislation also helps in protecting the latter. The Fisheries and Marine Resources Act 1998 stipulates that no person shall cut, remove, damage or exploit a mangrove plant or part of a mangrove plant except with the written approval of the Permanent Secretary.
Updates to voluntary commitment
Staff / Technical expertise
Fisheries Protection Officers of the Ministry help to enforce the law with regard to mangrove protection
Other, please specify
Printing of Flyers and Banners on mangroves
Provide transport to go on site and exhibition and venue at the Albion Fisheries Research Centre for talks
Staff / Technical expertise
Staff who have expertise in mangrove propagation accompany volunteers for mangrove planting