Mauritius: The Monaco Explorations reached the completion of its Indian Ocean Exploration, organised in collaboration with the authorities of the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles.
In this context, a visit was organised onboard the oceanographic research vessel South African (S.A) Agulhas II yesterday in Port-Louis, to present an overview of the Expedition.
The Acting President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Marie Cyril Eddy Boissezon, the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, the Director of Monaco Explorations, Mr Gilles Bessero, and other personalities were also present on occasion.
In a statement, Minister Maudhoo recalled that this Indian Ocean Expedition comprised a dense research programme jointly organised with the Authorities of the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles.
The research focused, among others, on the Joint Management Area (JMA) by Mauritius and Seychelles of Saya de Malha, one of the largest seagrass beds in the world, and the marine life related to the seabeds, he pointed out.
Furthermore, the Minister indicated that through this onboard presentation, it has been possible to observe that there are many endemic species in our region, including the gigantic herbarium in Saya de Malha. This herbarium is an essential marine part that needs to be preserved, not only for the interest of our island but for the world as well, he stressed.
On this score, Mr Maudhoo underlined that the Expedition also contributed to the enrichment of the scientists of Mauritius and Seychelles through discoveries as regards marine biodiversity, and seafloor planning, among others. “We hope that these discoveries will be further developed so as to identify resources that are still untapped and that can be exploited for the benefit of both countries,” the Minister said.
For his part, the Director of Monaco Explorations indicated that the mobilisation for the Expedition started during the first two stops in Mauritius on 11 and 12 October 2022. “Today, we are again in Mauritius for the closing of the mission and beginning of the demobilisation, which will end in one week’s time in Cape Town,” he said.
Also, Mr Bessero outlined the main elements carried out during the mission. These include:
- An onboard school where some thirty students from all over the world, including five Mauritians and five Seychellois, participated in the operations for the first phase between Mauritius and Seychelles and who have discovered the practice of oceanography in all its components at sea.
- The stop at Aldabra Atoll, where various parameters around the island were examined; the second phase between Seychelles and Mauritius, which was mainly devoted to the study of the JMA of Saya de Malha and; three days in St Brandon, where the state of the marine biodiversity around the island was examined.
He also dwelt on the objectives of this exploration in the Indian Ocean, which were based on a scientific approach, a mediation approach and a diplomatic approach.
The scientific approach was to understand the marine ecosystem in the area we are exploring.
The mediation approach was to share the knowledge we acquired with the public, including school children and academics and the diplomatic dimension to our mission was carried out based on the fact that the Prince of Monaco, Albert II, came to join us in Aldabra to share with us the results of the first phase of this mission, he underlined.
Finally, Mr Bessero expressed hope that enough samples have been collected as regards Saya de Malha so that appropriate protective measures can be taken for the preservation of its endemic and specific species.
The Indian Ocean Expedition of Monaco Explorations
The Indian Ocean Expedition, organised in liaison with the authorities of the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles, is the first item of the “Monaco Explorations” project endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.
The Expedition is also backed up by the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition and took place from October to November 2022 onboard the South African supply and oceanographic research vessel S.A. Agulhas II between Mauritius, Reunion, and Seychelles.
S.A. Agulhas II left her home port of Cape Town on 3 October 2022, and the mobilisation for the Expedition was completed during the first two stops in Mauritius from 10-12 October 2022 and; Reunion Island from 13-14 October 2022. A dense research programme that focused on the Aldabra Atoll, the Joint Management Area (JMA) of Saya de Malha and the island of Saint Brandon followed after. After demobilising in Port Louis on 22 and 23 November 2022, the vessel will return to Cape Town on 30 November 2022.