‘Seagrass is one of the main climate change solutions that has come to light now due to its carbon sink potential, which makes it a blue carbon ecosystem’.
The Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, made this statement, on 21 March 2023 at the Blue Bay Marine Park Centre, during a sensitisation programme on the importance of seagrass. An information board on seagrass was also unveiled on this occasion. These activities were held in the context of the celebrations of World Seagrass Day 2023.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Recreation, Mr Jean Christophe Stephan Toussaint, and other personalities were also present at the event.
In his address, Minister Maudhoo highlighted that blue carbon is a recent concept used to refer to organic carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. He pointed out that some of the blue carbon ecosystems, which stand out as they are natural carbon sink sources, include land forests, salt marshes, mangrove forests and seagrasses.
He underlined that seagrass greatly contributes to community well-being, whether through food security from fish production; improved quality of water filtered by seagrasses; protection of coasts from erosion, storms and floods; or carbon sequestration and storage. As such, he observed, his Ministry will carry out sensitisation and educational programmes around the island in the regions of Mont Choisy, Le Morne, and Albion. These sites have been specifically chosen as they harbour some of the largest seagrass meadows around Mauritius, he added.
Minister Maudhoo nonetheless conceded that limited baseline scientific data is available on the seagrass species composition, biogeography, density distribution and the potential for seagrass beds in Mauritius. He underscored that, consequently, the Albion Fisheries Research Centre is leading the project ‘Assessment of Blue Carbon Ecosystem (Seagrass) around the island of Mauritius: Relevance for Marine Spatial Planning’ since January 2019. This project, he indicated, is funded to the tune of USD 190,000 by the United Nations Environment Programme’s Nairobi Convention.
Before concluding, Mr Maudhoo appealed to one and all, especially the younger generation, to act now and act wisely so as to protect the valuable and sensitive seagrass ecosystem.