Using Advance Technology and AI for Reef Restoration: Implications of Active Management to declare a Marine Protected Area in Mauritius

EMS
Publié: 22 septembre 2022
Dernière modification: 22 septembre 2022
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Summary

Coral reefs, known as the blue rain forests, serve as net carbon sinks, help to fix nitrogen, protect against erosion and feed a large portion of the world`s population. Due to rapid and significant loss of corals around the Island, active reef restoration is the main focus towards coral restoration and rehabilitation. The restoration site at Pointe-aux-Feuilles covers an area of approximately 2,000 ha (20km2) and is highly visited by tourists and locals. The site is currently not a protected area and requires urgent attention given the amount of biodiversity it contains and its importance in maintaining the ecosystem functions over the place. This solution focuses on technology based-awareness and actions undertaken to restore the reef ecosystems. While education is primordial to create a long-term impact, the use of technology to implement a constant flow of information will ensure the participation of everyone.

Classifications

Region
Afrique occidentale et centrale
Scale of implementation
Mondial
National
Ecosystem
Lagune
Récif corallien
Écosystèmes marins et côtiers
Theme
Accès et partage des avantages
Adaptation au changement climatique
Atténuation du changement climatique
Gestion des espèces
L'intégration du genre
Restauration
Science et recherche
Îles
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Évaluation du statut de l'espèce
Surveillance des espèces et recherche
One Health
Lien entre la biodiversité et la santé
Challenges
Défis écologiques
Hausse des températures
Perte de biodiversité
Acidification des océans
Montée du niveau des mers
Perte de l'écosystème
Pollution (y compris eutrophisation et déchets)
Récolte non durable, y compris la surpêche
Manque d'accès au financement à long terme
Manque de sensibilisation du public et des décideurs
Sustainable development goals
ODD 13 - Mesures relatives à la lutte contre les changements climatiques
ODD 14 - Vie aquatique
ODD 17 - Partenariats pour la réalisation des objectifs

Emplacement

Mauritius

Challenges

The sociocultural and economic aspects and policies must change to support the adoption of protected areas to protect and restore the ecological diversity. Since fishing activities will be stopped on a voluntary basis from the area, communities that are already at risk could become worse by the loss of livelihoods, which can sometimes result in lower household income and more food insecurity. Therefore, to address this problem, it was critically important to engage fisher communities in coral reef restoration from the beginning and allowing them to take part in eco-tourism activities. This not only saved the area from further damage but allowed the fishermen to generate more incomes through sustainable touristic activities.

Beneficiaries

  • Fishermen communities including both men and women
  • Children of various age groups
  • Local communities
  • General public and interested stakeholders
  • Tourists of various nationalities

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

Underwater cameras and equipment are technological innovations that facilitates the restoration processes. Using cameras, we can capture the current state of our marine ecosystems and share it worldwide, using social media platforms. This allows communication between the marine scientists and the stakeholders. The use of underwater pictures and videos
has made an impact on the local community, helping them achieve improved understanding of the state of conservation targets, as well as their vulnerability and resilience.

Impacts

  • Environmental impacts
    • So far, we have grown around 20,000 coral fragments in our nurseries, with over 15,000 of them having been planted in deteriorated reefs through the use of support frames.
    • Creation of an artificial reef using concrete blocks to support natural recruitment and marine life.
    • There has been an increase in the marine biodiversity in the nursery area and restoration sites.
  • Social impacts
    • The local community has an improved understanding of the state of conservation targets (species and ecosystems), as well as their vulnerability and resilience.
    • Increased awareness of the impact of climate change on coral reefs.
    • Participation of local fishermen, especially women, in coral farming activities.
  • Economic impacts

    • More fish for fishermen to catch and eco-tourism activities to support locals

Story

EMS

Coral reef restoration is more important than ever to protect our marine resources and the local economies since coral reefs are increasingly in danger owing to natural and anthropogenic stressors at both a local and global level. Coral colonies are fragmented by strong wave actions and man-made activities like boat anchoring, destructive fishing practices and unsustainable sports activities. The basic principle of coral restoration is to secure broken coral fragments to ensure survival and rejuvenation. Seeing how I could help in coral restoration, this project has allowed me to collect broken coral fragments from the reef, grow them in nurseries until they are mature, and then transplant them in the degraded reef locations. This project has allowed us all to become part of it through the use of technologies. The development of the mobile app has not just been challenging but also engaging in a sense that when we tested with locals, they are more than happy to see live underwater on a daily basis. This project has allowed also fishermen to express their concern on environmental degradation and to established a close link with them to support coral restoration. The underwater cameras and live viewing is allowing us to monitor closely coral growths and integrating education alongside. Technology and conservation is primordial to help understand what is happening and a way for mother earth to talk to us, to show us the reality underwater and to consider active restoration.

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Nadeem Nazurally EcoMode Society