It is believed that the open seas around Mauritius are relatively clean. The major marine environmental problems arise on the coastal zones due to
human activities and natural processes on land and at sea. The human activities that have impacts on the marine environment are agriculture, industry, infrastructure and hotel development, fishing, coral
and sand extraction, dredging, siltation due to deforestation.
Natural processes that have impacts on the marine environment are cyclones and wave action. The negative impacts of human activities on the marine environment are
manifold and can consist of the following: disruption of local ecosystems, deterioration of the water quality, erosion of shores, destruction of coral communities, decreases in fish productivity,
pollution of the seas by industrial effluents, sewage and agricultural run off, sedimentation. These negative impacts are visible in Mauritius today to varying degrees of magnitude. In this section we
shall attempt to describe those impacts.
Sources of Marine Pollution in the Lagoon
Over the years a number of measures have been taken to protect marine ecosystems.
- The interdiction of the removal and sale of corals and shells.
- The interdiction of underwater spear fishing.
- A closed season for net fishing.
- A minimum size mesh for nets.
- The interdiction of the use of dynamite for fishing.
- A national coast guard and fisheries protection service for the surveillance and protection of coastal zones.
Coastal marine resources are very important for the local economy. By all accounts the maximum sustainable yield for artisanal and bank fishery
have been reached or even surpassed. There is an urgent need for proper and rational management of these resources in order to achieve sustainable development.
It is very important to realise that ultimately the lagoon is the sink for a number of land based activities. Pollutants and waste arising far
inland can have dramatic effects on the health of the lagoon.
Hence the management of marine resources cannot be done in isolation from inland activities. Especially for such a small country like Mauritius.
In short, the environment must be managed with a countrywide perspective in mind.