Research and Monitoring at Anse-La-Raie

First step: a rapid inventory

A rapid inventory of the lagoon of Anse-La-Raie was carried out in June 2010. The aim of this inventory was to provide us with baseline information about the marine habitats present in the lagoon. The biological data collected allowed us to produce a map of the different marine ecosystems of the lagoon of Anse La Raie.

Habitat mapping

The rapid inventory led to the development of preliminary habitat maps, which show the seagrass, algae, and coral cover. The inventory revealed that the health of patch reefs is degraded in some areas, representing — % of the lagoon.

A verification process in the field

A second step consisted in field verifications, which were organized during the months of June and November 2011.  These field verifications have focused on specific areas to better understand the diversity of corals and fish present at the site and determine the possible links between different areas identified during the inventory.

What is Anse-La-Raie like?

During fieldwork, 47 species of fish and 18 species of coral were identified.
The study area is not homogeneous and has patch with distinct coral species. We distinguish two types of areas “lettuce-type” corals and “mixed” corals such branching corals, leafy corals.  This mapping is being used for the development of monitoring methodologies that will begin during the second half of 2012.

Next steps

This first study provides an approximation of the distribution of species, but it does not replace a comprehensive quantitative study using transects and quadrats. Such a study will be carried out during the second half of 2012. The main objectives of this study are to:

1. Assess the health of coral reefs looking for diversity and abundance of corals and to monitor the water quality in the lagoon

  • Inventories of the distribution of corals in the zone,
  • Inventories on the recovery of corals and their health
  • Inventory of invertebrate fauna (echinoderms, molluscs, crustaceans …)
  • Inventory of fish
  • Studies on the sedimentation of the lagoon, current in the lagoon
  • Studies on users of the lagoon of Anse La Raie
  • Surveys on different physical parameters (T ° C, pH, salinity, turbidity)

2. Assess the reproductive capacity of existing reefs

  • Studies on the recruitment of coral larvae

3. Determine which coral species can be used for the rehabilitation of reefs in Anse La Raie

  • Experiment 1: Growth of corals with different levels of sedimentation
  • Experiment 2: Experiment with feeding and sedimentation
  • Experiment 3: Experiment with feeding and on the stress caused to corals by temperature

4. Provide a basis for education and awareness programmes

  • Present the results of the study and monitoring to students, staff of the hotel and visitors at the Nauticaz marine laboratory.
  • Organize an open house for press and media on the scientific research on the rehabilitation of coral reefs in the lagoon of Anse La Raie.
  • Publish results in scientific journals.

5. Partner with the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC), Department of Fisheries and Rodrigues

In parallel we are also considering setting up a voluntary conservation area in the lagoon of Anse La Raie. This project consists of several steps, namely community awareness on the importance of conservation and preservation of the marine environment, organizing events (film screening in open air, open day), eco guide training for 10 residents of in the area of Anse la Raie, numerous meetings with the community, hoteliers and key players in the lagoon fishermen.

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