South East Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) Rodrigues Island

Rodrigues Island is located some 650 km to the North East and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It is surrounded by a coral reef which shelters a lagoon of 240 km2. The reef and adjacent inner and outer lagoon host a diversity of species of which some have been found to be new to science.

A high percentage of the marine ecosystem in Rodrigues is still in pristine state. However, there is growing concern among the population and the government regarding the continuous degradation of marine ecosystem. To mitigate all factors affecting the marine environment, various policy measures are being implemented; one of which is the setting up of a marine protected area in the South of Rodrigues called the South East Marine Protected Area (SEMPA). The South East Marine Protected Area is funded by UNDP/GEF/RRA under the project Partnerships in Mauritius and Rodrigues for Marine Protected Areas.

The SEMPA Project Area has a total surface area of 43 km² where a variety of activities including kite surfing, diving, snorkelling and fishing activities among others occurs. These users are key stakeholders who participate in the decision making process through an innovative co-management approach. The main stakeholder within the South East Marine Protected Area is a population of about 950 fishers who are exploiting the meagre remaining resources.

For greater efficiency and sustainable use a management plan has been prepared.

Presently the project has gained momentum and various activities are underway. These activities range from awareness-raising of marine resources to demarcation of the MPA boundaries.

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