Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas


Roches Noires VMCA

Anse La Raie

Anse La Raie VMCA

What are VMCAs?

Voluntary Marine Conservation Areas (VMCAs) are selected sites in the lagoon where resource users and coastal communities agree that no extractive or destructive activities will be done.  The primary objective is to help marine life and biodiversity of these VMCAs and the surrounding lagoon restore themselves. VMCAs can only be established with the support and approval of all fishermen registered at the nearest fish landing station to the chosen site.
The establishment of voluntarily protected sites will inevitably increase the area of marine resources protected in the lagoons and can ultimately lead to a network of protected areas in Mauritius. The success of these VMCA sites can help further promote real community co-management arrangements with local government for legally designated Marine Protected Areas and Marine Reserves.
Reef Conservation has been working with fishers and other local coastal community stakeholders to facilitate the establishment of VMCAs since 2009. There are currently to active VMCAs one in Roches Noires and one in Anse La Raie. With new funding, Reef will continue to work with these villages to protect the marine resources there.

A participatory resource management process

At each site, a VMCA committee composed of boat operators, fishermen, village representatives and volunteers is set up in order to carry out sensitization activities and monitor compliance with VMCA rules. Reef Conservation works closely with stakeholders to identify the gaps in marine conservation management, initiate dialogue between the main resource users, build capacity in marine resource management and provide training in marine ecology and conservation.

The VMCAs: Roches Noires, Trou d’Eau Douce and Anse-la-Raie

The two VMCAs in Trou d’Eau Douce and one in Roches Noires have served as pilot sites. Between 2009-2011 and with the support of the Regional Programme for the Sustainable Management of the Coastal Zones of the Countries of the Indian Ocean (ReCoMap) with funding from the European Union, Reef has worked closely with the two communities to help support the establishment of a VMCA committee, which include fishers, members of the village council, trained Marine Eco-Guides and community representatives. And in 2014 a new VMCA was approved by stakeholders and community in Anse La Raie.

To ensure the long term existence, management and success of these voluntary conservation sites, there is need for further understanding of the ecosystems and biodiversity within them. With new funding, the organization aims to further develop its ties with each village and train volunteers in ecological monitoring, communication and reinforce the surveillance at each site.

Economic and social sustainability of the VMCAs

A feasibility study for new eco-tourism initiatives will be carried out in Roches Noires for the future development and sustainability of the VMCA. The results of this study may well lead to the creation of new income generating activities for the trained marine Eco-guides and the Roches Noires community.


Produced maps of Roches Noires and Anse La Raie

These maps show our study sites in both lagoons as well as the different eco-systems that can be found in Anse La Raie lagoon.

Roches Noires VMCA points with satimage (1)ALR_satimageTrail

Latest News

Newsletter 2023 - Projects, Programmes & Initiatives

Continue Reading

Comments are closed.