Mauritius: The Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, in collaboration with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), inaugurated an exhibition facility at the Blue Bay Marine Park Centre on Wednesday, 26 July 2023.
The Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Sudheer Maudhoo; the Member of Parliament, Rameswar Doolub; the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, Kawaguchi Shuichiro; and other personalities were present on the occasion.
In his address, Minister Maudhoo recalled that the Blue Bay Marine Park, a Ramsar Site, harbours a marine ecosystem of rare beauty in terms of diverse and rich communities of marine flora and fauna, especially the coral reefs preserved for years.
The JICA, he added, has set up an Exhibition Centre at the Blue Bay Marine Park to raise awareness and educate the general public on the importance of the coastal ecosystem in the South East of Mauritius.
Speaking about this Exhibition Centre, he indicated that it consists of a number of informative exhibits in the form of explanatory panels, posters, short videos, a book corner, an interactive corner, a diorama and a glass showcase.
“Educational tours will be organised whereby the public, including students and tourists, will be given an exposé on the South East coast’s marine ecosystems and the opportunity to observe the marine life within the Marine Park through glass bottom tours,” Maudhoo said.
The Ministry also has a project to clear and asphalt the access road leading to the Blue Bay Marine Park Centre in order to ensure better facilities for the stakeholders and visitors.
Furthermore, an Informative Board on the coastal environment of the South East Coast has been placed by JICA to sensitise the general public, he pointed out. On this score, the Minister appealed for the collaboration of all stakeholders and the general public to ensure that no illegal activity is carried out here and that this beautiful marine park is sustainably preserved.
The Minister observed that Mauritius has benefited from several grants and aid from the Government of Japan for several facilities such as:
- The construction of the Albion Fisheries Research Centre and its ancillary facilities.
- The Trou Fanfaron fishing port and its cold room.
- The Fisheries Training and Extension Centre (FiTEC) at Pointe aux Sables.
Moreover, Maudhoo highlighted that over and above the grant and aid projects funded by Japan, technical assistance has also been provided to the Research Center at Albion in various fields, namely aquaculture, marine conservation, planning and development projects, and, presently, the JICA is implementing the Development of Integrated Coastal Ecosystem Management System project to restore the coastal ecosystem in the south-eastern part of Mauritius, which has been partly affected by the grounding of MV Wakashio.
He indicated that to monitor the marine environment and conduct research on the South East coast, including the Marine Park, the Japanese Government has donated a research boat to allow officers of the Albion Fisheries Research Centre to implement numerous projects towards the conservation and protection of the marine ecosystem within the Blue Bay Marine Park and also around the island.
Maudhoo also recalled that a ‘Restoring Marine Ecosystem Services by Rehabilitating Coral Reefs to Meet a Changing Climate Future’ project has been implemented by his Ministry and the Rodrigues Regional Assembly since 2018, and which is funded by the United Nations Development Programme to the tune of Rs 10 Million.
“The project’s target is to restore 3.2 hectares of coral reef in Mauritius Island, including the Blue Bay Marine Park, and 1 hectare in Rodrigues Island,” he added.