The Annotated Ramsar List: Mauritius

15/11/2011

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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance

MAURITIUS / MAURICE / MAURICIO

Mauritius

The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Mauritius on 30 September 2001. Mauritius presently has 3 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 401 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Blue Bay Marine Park. 31/01/2008; Grand Port; 353 ha; 20°27'S 057°43'E. Marine Protected Area. A unique coastal wetland recognized for its exceptional underwater seascape with diverse marine fauna and flora, especially its coral diversity (38 coral species representing 28 genera and 15 families). The presence of mangroves, seagrass meadows, and macro algae contribute to the overall stability of the marine environment and make it a habitat for about 72 fish species and the endangered green turtle, as well as a nursing ground for juvenile marine species. This site adjoins the popular Blue Bay Beach, 5 metres away, which is widely used by the local community for recreational purposes, and tourism is also significant. Threats posed to the coral ecosystem by diving activities are controlled by allowing only certified divers to operate in the area. Management of Marine Protected Areas is ensured by the Fisheries and Marine Regulations of 2001, which makes special provisions for this site. In addition, there is a steering committee for the management of the park drawn from most of the environment-related ministries (Agro-industry, Environment, Tourism, Housing and Lands, etc.), and daily patrols are conducted to enforce the regulations. Ramsar site no. 1744. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Pointe d'Esny Wetland. 16/09/11; Grand Port; 22 ha; 20°25'36''S 057°43'11''E. A rare example of a wetland characterized by a subtropical mangrove forest containing Rhizophora mucronata and, reportedly, the rarer Bruguiera gymnorhiza, mud flats, and a sub-mangrove belt of pan-tropical coastal plants. The site provides habitat for some threatened plants and the native butterflies Phalanta phalantha and Eurema floricola ceres. The site is a natural coastal wetland of shallow depth whose water level fluctuates with rainfall and tidal variation. Its water is brackish, being a mixture of tidal sea water and freshwater overflow from inland. The main threats within the site include intense pressures to convert the wetland for various ecologically unsustainable economic purposes; a growing tourist industry, coastal roads, agricultural uses, and growing human settlements affect the site adversely. Ramsar site no. 1988. Most recent RIS information: 2011.

Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary. 30/05/01; Port Louis; 26 ha; 20°08’S 057°29’E). Protected reserve. Listed as Ramsar wetland types F) Estuarine and A) Shallow marine waters and G) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats, internationally important for 14 regularly visiting migratory birds, as well as for three species of endemic plants. Situated in close proximity to the capital, Port Louis, the site has protected area status and a visitors’ centre is being established, following the completion of which, access to adjacent fishing facilities and unrelated recreational uses will be provided for elsewhere nearby. Port-related activities present a chronic risk but oil spill contingency plans are in place; agricultural effluents are present but plans are in place to minimize their adverse effects. As an ex-dumping ground, leachates are detected, but a rehabilitation plan is under study. Invasive species of flora are being removed, and a management plan is in preparation. Preparations for this accession were assisted by the Swiss Grant for Africa. Ramsar site no. 1094.

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