Fixed Mooring Buoys
Fixed Mooring Buoys (FMBs) are deployed at popular dive and snorkel sites to protect the coral from anchor damage caused by the indiscriminate use of anchors at these sites, which breaks the coral and degrades the ecological integrity of the area. These are an essential aspect of coastal management and conservation of corals and fish in these areas.
The buoys are special marks, which in this case define dive sites and therefore play an important role in the safety of divers and snorkelers in the water. Vessels should keep clear of special marks (as defined by international law) and should only approach these areas slowly and with caution, as there are likely to be people in the water.
Environmental & economic benefits
Through the preservation of corals and the promotion of FMB sites as Voluntary No-Take Areas among resource users through sensitization and training, it is hoped that the fish populations can significantly increase. As the fish populations increase there will inevitably be a spill over from these sites to adjacent sites where people are able to fish. They are therefore important for both the tourism industry and the artisanal fisheries.
Background & pilot project
The project was first implemented as a pilot project by the Shoals of Capricorn Programme and the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society in 2000, funded by the UNDP GEF SGP. A total of 4 buoys were deployed, two at Grand Baie Aquarium and two at Pereyebere Aquarium. During the pilot project the Buoys were redesigned to be able to better withstand heavy weather and allow for easier deployment and recovery for maintenance. On completion of this project, the then Minister of Environment requested the project to be expanded on a nationwide basis.
Reef Conservation, originally known as the Marine Conservation Management Consortium, was created in 2003 to undertake this project and received the necessary funding from the GEF SGP-UNDP. The design for the buoys and the mooring systems has been further developed and today FMBs have been deployed at sites on the North, East and West coasts of Mauritius and Rodrigues.
With the continued support of the GEF SGP – UNDP, Reef Conservation purchased an underwater drill, which allows us to fix anchors into hard substrate with minimal to no damage to the surrounding areas and providing added security for boats mooring on FMBs.
Sensitization and training
Sensitisation meetings with stakeholders have been ongoing since 2006. Reef Conservation has worked with the Ministry of Tourism Pleasure Craft Division on the skipper licence training courses, providing training in the importance and the use of the FMBs. This provides a platform from which to sensitize most of the current and potential boat skippers nationwide on the FMB project and other important ecological conservation issues.
HOW TO USE A FIXED MOORING BUOY