- Project Dates: October 2008 - March 2010
- Project Leader: Professor Selina Stead
- Sponsors: EU
- Partners: Shoals Rodrigues, Emily Hardman, Sabrina Désiré, Sydney Perrine, Reef Conservation Mauritius
In response to degradation of the marine environment and a decline in fish catches within the lagoon in Rodrigues, Western Indian Ocean, the Rodrigues Regional Assembly proclaimed a network of marine reserves in the northern lagoon. These reserves had not been demarcated prior to implementation and considered to be ‘paper park’s’ with no enforcement of the regulations. This project aimed to demarcate the reserves and support their development through a combination of education, training, participatory governance and research, working in collaboration with the local communities in Rodrigues.
- To involve stakeholders at the agenda-setting stage to build social networks and social capital to support development of participatory governance.
- To demarcate 3 marine reserves in the northern lagoon so that the current fisheries regulations can be enforced.
- To provide training to local fishers, allowing them to work as community rangers to increase levels of compliance.
- To raise awareness of and educate local communities about the need for marine reserves and the benefits they will bring especially when local communities are actively involved in their management.
- To undertake long-term biological monitoring to assess the impacts the marine reserves are having on the lagoon ecosystem.
- To undertake socio-economic baseline studies to assess the degree of dependence of local communities on the reserve areas and to identity potential supplementary forms of income.
The major output of the project was an understanding of the attitudes, perceptions and socio-economic drivers underpinning behaviour of local communities in the Northern part of Rodrigues and the demarcation of the 3 marine reserves that complemented the marine reserve at Rivière Banane, creating a network of Marine Protected Areas in the northern lagoon.