[Coral-List] Mauritius reefs

Michael Risk riskmj at univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca
Wed Nov 1 13:19:35 EST 2006

Dear Tom, Ruby, Ranjeet.

To echo previous postings: the UNEP Report is seriously in error.

I have in fact read this Report. It is long on lovely graphics, short
on data and Methods, and the names of none of the compilers were
familiar to me. (I hasten to add I know maybe 10% of Indian Ocean reef
experts-but none of the French Connection from Reunion, for example,
were involved.)

Rather than add to our litany of reef woes, I think this points up the
weakness of most "rapid assessment" programs, especially those run by
large organisations.

Mauritius might confuse the uninitiated. There is little coral growth
outside the lagoon, and there never was-during the Holocene. The
well-developed spur-and-groove system is Pleistocene in origin, and the
Pleistocene outcrops in several places in the lagoons.

The action is in the lagoons-our work shows that virtually 100% of
Mauritian beaches are sourced from lagoon corals and other critters.
Bleaching has had little impact to date. On the other hand...there are
problems near sources of agricultural runoff, hotels...holes in the
lagoon corals off old limekilns...and of course there are essentially
no fish in the lagoon.

The UNEP crew would have been better off saving the airfares, and
talking with local Mauritian reef experts, such as Ruby...


On Wed, 1 Nov 2006 11:31:35 -0500
 Thomas Goreau <goreau at bestweb.net> wrote:
> Dear Ranjeet,
> No this is not correct. Mauritius did not get hot enough long enough
> in 1998 to have much bleaching mortality as did Seychjelles,  
> Mauritius, and most of the Indian Ocean   (See T. Goreau, T.  
> McClanahan, R. Hayes, & A. Strong, 2000, Conservation of coral reefs
> after the 1998 global bleaching event, CONSERVATION BIOLOGY, 14:  
> 5-15, and follow up studies of coral bleaching in Mauritius by  
> McClanahan and Ruby Moothien Pillai). But this is not to say  
> Mauritius reefs are in good health. There has been long damage from  
> soil erosion and fertilizer runoff from sugar cultivation, and now  
> from sewage from coastal development. For a recent assessment of reef
> stress on all four sides of Mauritius see:
> http://globalcoral.org/Mauritius%20Marine%20Management%20Notes.htm
> Best wishes,
> Tom
> Thomas J. Goreau, PhD
> President
> Global Coral Reef Alliance
> 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA 02139
> 617-864-4226
> goreau at bestweb.net
> http://www.globalcoral.org
> > Message: 1
> > Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 12:38:47 -0500
> > From: "Ranjeet Bhagooli" <coral at scientist.com>
> > Subject: Re: [Coral-List] UNEP report
> > To: sddonner at Princeton.EDU, Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > Message-ID: <20061031173853.72B2F1F50B1 at ws1-2.us4.outblaze.com>
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> >
> > This report mentions that coral reefs of Mauritius were "severely  
> > damaged". I suppose it's relating it to the 1998 mass bleaching/ 
> > mortality event in the Indian Ocean.
> >
> > "Coral reefs across the Indian Ocean including around the Comoros,
> > La Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles, were among  
> > those that were severely damaged."
> >
> > Was that really the case?
> > Pls. correct me if I'm wrong!
> >
> > Ranjeet Bhagooli, Ph.D.
> > Miami, Florida
> > USA
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Mike Risk
Marine Ecologist
PO Box 1195
Durham Ontario
N0G 1R0

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