Mauritius: A two-month expedition in the Indian Ocean by Monaco Explorations, supported by the commitment of Prince Albert II of Monaco to protect the ocean and promote sustainable management, kicks off today, 12 October 2022. In this context, a visit was organised on the South African oceanographic vessel, SA Agulhas II, yesterday in Port-Louis.
The aim was to present details of the project, features of the oceanographic vessel and scientific aspects that will be used by experts in the laboratories.
The expedition is endorsed as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 and is guided by the four main themes, namely coral protection, megafauna protection, marine protected areas and new exploration techniques.
Around 20 experts from the Mauritius Oceanography Institute, University of Mauritius, Mauritius Hydrographic Service, Mauritius Meteorological Services, Department of Biosciences and Ocean Studies, Department for Continental Shelf, and Maritime Zones Administration and Exploration will form part of the expedition.
In a statement, the Director General of the Department for Continental Shelf, Maritime Zones, Administration and Exploration of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Badal Rezah, indicated that the programme targets two maritime areas, namely the Saya de Malha Bank, one of the largest seagrass beds in the world, and a selection of islands and seamounts. The expedition, he said, will contribute to the exploration of marine biodiversity, seafloor planning, and the Joint Management Area of Mauritius and Seychelles and also enable young students and experts to conduct research.
He underlined that the vessel would have stopovers at Reunion Island and Seychelles, and research operations would be scheduled throughout the vessel’s journey as well as during stations around Aldabra Atoll, Saya de Malha Bank and around St Brandon.
Speaking on the SA Agulhas II, Mr Rezah pointed out that the vessel is modern and well-equipped with laboratories and equipment for oceanographic operations and for conducting scientific research. He expressed his gratitude to the Government of South Africa for putting the vessel at the disposal of this mission.
For his part, the Director of Monaco Explorations, Mr Gilles Bessero, dwelt on the objectives of the mission, which include understanding, analysing and evaluating the state and functioning of the ecosystem of the area explored through a comprehensive scientific approach based on sustainability sciences.