| Rodrigues | Shoals Rodrigues
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
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.
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.
also took video that shows the natural behaviour of various common
fishes for use in the fish ID movie they are preparing for training
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.
bunch of Club Mer kids came to visit Jocara. We showed them around
the boat and talked about our Jocara Indian Ocean Quest.
Project on Octopus Traps
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.
more information on Shoals Rodrigues please visit their website: