Home / NewTech / Protected wetlands in Mauritius that are plagued by oil spills offer mangrove forests, coral species – Technology News, Firstpost

Protected wetlands in Mauritius that are plagued by oil spills offer mangrove forests, coral species – Technology News, Firstpost

The oil spill off the coast of Mauritius has threatened protected wetlands, which are home to rare mangrove forests and numerous species of fish and coral.

The bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which hit a reef on July 25th, spat out more than 1

,000 tonnes of fuel near two of the three “Ramsar sites” in Mauritius, named after the international convention for the conservation of wetlands.

Fortunately, the rescue teams removed all of the fuel from the ship’s tanks on Wednesday, although another 100 tons were on board elsewhere.

However, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth has warned of a high probability that the 300-meter ship will break.

    Mangrove forests and coral species can be found in the oil spilled protected wetlands on Mauritius

Mangroves used to be scattered all over the island, but deforestation for hotel construction has left narrow belts in the north and west and thicker tree zones on the east coast. Until 2003, the mangrove cover on Mauritius was estimated at around 2000 ha. Photo credit: Yo Nature

Here is a look at the two websites:

Blue bay

Traces of oil have been found in Blue Bay, a 353-acre Ramsar area containing 38 species of coral, including spherical “brain corals” that are more than a century old.

This oil was “contained immediately,” said Sunil Dowarkasing, a former Greenpeace strategist and environmental expert who helped with the clean-up.

But greater intrusion could deal a severe blow to the location adjoining tourist-friendly Blue Bay Beach, he said.

“If the Blue Bay Marine Park is polluted we will lose a gem for Mauritius,” said Dowarkasing.

The mangroves, seagrass meadows and macroalgae of Blue Bay provide a habitat “for about 72 species of fish and the endangered green turtle, as well as a breeding ground for juvenile marine species,” according to the Ramsar Convention on its website.

Pointe d’Esny

The shallow brackish water of the 22 hectare Pointe d’Esny area features a mangrove forest, mud flats, endangered plants and native butterflies.

The area is better protected than the Blue Bay. A coastal road separates the mangroves from the nearby lagoon.

But mangrove roots have a tendency to scoop up oil, Dowarkasing warned, making Pointe d’Esny particularly vulnerable when it comes to extensive encroachment.

Mauritius’ third location in Ramsar, the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary, is on the opposite side of the country’s main island and is not at risk of spillage.

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