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Places | Rodrigues | Shoals Rodrigues

Shoals Rodrigues

Shoals Rodrigues is a Marine Research, Training and Education organisation based on the Mauritian island of Rodrigues. Shoals Rodrigues uses these three complementary disciplines (Research, Training and Education) to underpin their aim of raising the level of understanding about the marine environment. This is achieved through visiting international scientists, the involvement of local trainees and using educators to nurture the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge of school children. The central ethos of their work is that sustainability and conservation can only come about through the sharing of knowledge.


Coral reef monitoring surveys

Long term monitoring of the reefs around Rodrigues is a vital tool for assessing resources and detecting trends in the health of the coral and other animals that live there. The deeper reef slope corals around Rodrigues are in a particularly good condition with a very healthy coverage and range of species. Work on the marine biodiversity around Rodrigues noted at least 140 different species of corals including one endemic species. The shallower lagoon corals have been severely damaged by the effects of sedimentation and the physical impact of octopus and seine net fishers.

Having Jocara available allowed Shoals to reach survey sites that are otherwise difficult for them to reach in their small boats. We went to an exposed survey site in the north that had beautiful and varied coral cover. We also went to the lee side in the west where they were able to set up a new survey site. Here the reef was less pristine, with patches of rubble.

We also took video that shows the natural behaviour of various common fishes for use in the fish ID movie they are preparing for training purposes.

Club Mer visit

Club Mer is the marine education initiative organised by Shoals Rodrigues. Through classes, practical science, snorkelling and diving it aims to teach young people about their encircling lagoons and reefs. Raising their awareness of these environments should lead to a greater appreciation of the delicate balance of ecology and the importance of conservation and sustainable use.

A bunch of Club Mer kids came to visit Jocara. We showed them around the boat and talked about our Jocara Indian Ocean Quest.

Pilot Project on Octopus Traps

Shoals has recently started a project to evaluate the effectiveness of octopus traps as an alternative to catching them on foot on the reef.
With over 2,000 fishers out in the lagoon on foot searching for octopus at low tide, there is considerable damage to the delicate habitats. In addition many of the fishers are taking octopus of 300g or less and these are well below maturity.
The use of octopus pots has been successful in the Meditteranean to catch octopus from boats. Most importantly this method is carried out from boats in deeper water and does not damage the corals in the shallow water. The use of traps also gives the fisher a chance to evaluate the size of the octopus before deciding whether it is large enough to be kept. For octopus taken from their holes on the reef with harpoons, by the time it has been removed it is usually too badly damaged to consider returning.
Shoals is evaluating octopus catches at two villages and using this data to establish a baseline of catches on foot before they can evaluate the potential of the traps. The Jocara crew went along on morning to see the octopus survey. Every octopus is measured, weighed and sexed.

For more information on Shoals Rodrigues please visit their website:
http://www.shoalsrodrigues.net

 

 
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