STORIES By Heritage Resorts - Issue 3 - 2019 - Page 40

Coral reefs and seagrass
beds are home to a very
beautiful and colourful
wildlife. A single snorkelling
session is enough to
admire a multitude of fish
ranging from trumpet fish
that can change colour to
camouflage themselves to
brightly-coloured lionfish.
There are no less than 55
different species in the
area, but some are more
difficult to spot, such as
clownfish which can only
be found in and around
anemones, wrasses which
are often busy cleaning the
mouths of larger fish and
eels burrowed in the sand.
Trompet fish
Clown fish
Lagoon monitoring on
a quarterly basis has
enabled Reef Conservation
to prepare a list of
recommendations to help
Heritage Resorts take good
care of the lagoon. “The
priority is to reduce human
impact by developing
leisure activities that do
not endanger the lagoon
and raising awareness
among hotel guests and
employees,” says the NGO’s
president, François Rogers.
Heritage Resorts has
thus taken a number of
steps in this direction, for
example by limiting motor
boat speed to 5 knots
and providing guests
with a Lagoon Directory
to introduce them to
the wealth of fauna and
flora in Bel Ombre using
photographs, informational
texts and illustrations. The
little ones can also visit the
recently launched Yellow
Submarine at Heritage
Awali. This underground
classroom is equipped
with screens, games and
educational material for
entertaining courses on
the seabed.
Heritage Bel Ombre
employees have also
received training using the
famous Bis Lamer (“Sea
Bus” in Creole). This mobile
classroom has been touring
the island since 2014 to
raise public awareness on
various issues: the coastal
and marine environment,
the importance of plankton,
climate change and the
role of certain ecosystems
such as mangroves,
seagrass beds and coral
reefs in dealing with
natural disasters.
Finally, Reef Conservation
and Heritage Resorts want
to set up the Bel Ombre
lagoon as a Voluntary
Marine Conservation Area,
i.e. a protected area with
a wealth of habitats and
biodiversity. The “voluntary”
nature of this Mauritian
label means that the
area must be chosen and
acknowledged by the local
community (fishermen,
locals, hotels, tourism
operators, NGOs).
Certain instructions must
be observed in order to
enjoy the lagoon without
compromising its fragile
balance! First of all, it
is advisable to choose
activities such as sailing
or snorkelling. Don’t
touch marine life to avoid
damaging it and refrain
from stepping on corals.
A coral may sometimes
take 30 to 50 years to
grow and a slight blow
is enough to destroy it.
Also note that feeding fish
impacts their behaviour:
they may no longer eat
algae and detritus, which
are themselves harmful
to corals!
For a proactive
contribution, collect the
trash that you come across
during your long walks,
which poses a threat
for marine wildlife. You
can also support local
environmental protection
associations and use
eco-friendly sunscreen,
available in Heritage
Resorts boutiques. Get
involved now!
Geometric moray


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