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Mauritius Joins the War on Plastics

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More than just a pretty face, Mauritius is an island with an environmental protection policy that takes pollution and plastics control very seriously indeed. Littering is controlled with fines ranging from Rs 2000 (E45) for a first offense to Rs 10 000 (E250) and a year in jail if you do it again.

Within 8 hours direct flight from Europe and a 2 hour time difference, Mauritius has year-round warm water, clear visibility, and the coral reefs are re-growing. Diving in the North is exceptional, and it is a real pleasure to dive in clean, clear, warm water, to walk on beautiful white beaches, and to breathe clean air. The endangered Green Turtles are returning to the Island, and there are now 11 on Turtle Rock, various sizes.

Plastic shopping bags are banned. Textile manufacturing companies supplement the income lost to Chinese competition by sewing sturdy woven IKEA-type shopping bags. All the supermarkets sell them, branded with their logos, well designed and well-constructed. If you forget yours on a shopping trip, you might be offered a thin, recycled bio-degradable bag or a paper bag for your stuff, but its no to plastic bags throughout the island.

There are recycling bins for plastic bottles and glass outside the supermarkets, and there are more than 36 recycling companies registered in Mauritius. Recycling of bottles and other plastics has become a good business for Surf-rider, a small company in the North. They collect the plastic bottles and packaging materials, and turn them into planks, gates benches and dustbins.

The Maxi-Clean teams of ladies in their orange overalls sweep and clean the streets and beaches every day, and this policy protects the sea and the reefs from pollution.

Most hotels in Mauritius are owned by Mauritians who assist Government by spearheading the war on plastics, coral reef protection and recycling. Of course, it’s in their best interests to preserve the marine environment, as tourism accounts directly and indirectly for 26% of the Mauritius GDP and Mauritius has built its reputation on its clean sandy beaches and pristine lagoons.

It’s easy to impose fines for littering, to have clean-up days and to prosecute offenders, but at a very deep grass roots level, the Mauritius Hotel chains and the local NGO Conservationists are working together to teach the next generation about conservation.

One example, and there are many, is The Attitude Group of Hotels under the leadership of Jean Michel Pitot. He has gone much further with conservation than recycling, sewerage reticulation, water conservation and re-educating the population. He has also replanted the mangroves around the rocky parts of the island in the North to prevent coastal erosion.

It’s refreshing to meet a hotelier who refers to his staff as family, encourages them to participate in profit sharing, and who is both humble in his accomplishments and respectful of his environment. He looks at to the next generation for the future of Mauritius and wants to ensure that the island retains its benign simplicity and family values.

In addition, his family of Attitude Hotels has sponsored Reef Conservation by building the REEF Nauticaz Oceanographic Resource Centre and paying its staff. REEF visits schools throughout Mauritius, teaching kids about the reefs, the ocean, and how they can help to preserve this extraordinary Island.

Diving Mauritius is beautiful, with white sand, blue water and colourful soft corals. But even more, it’s reassuring to know that you will see only blue when you are diving with the sharks beneath Shark Island, or enjoying a safari to Confetti bay and Djabeda wreck, or checking out an Anemone Clown fish on Reef Garden.

Jill Holloway lives in Mauritius and at Sodwana Bay Isimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa. A PADI qualified Nitrox diver with over 1,500 dives, she is a passionate observer and preserver of the marine environment, and has a database of over 35,000 fish pics and hundreds of Gopro videos on fish behaviour, which she shares with her readers.

Marine Life & Conservation

Our Seas urge Scotland to bring back Inshore Limit

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Our Seas call on Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish Government to follow their own policies and stop the chronic destruction of our seabed by urgently reinstating a coastal limit on bottom-trawl and dredge fishing. Sign the petition here.

Scottish coastal seas have been driven into decline due to decades of mismanagement. Destructive bottom towed fishing gear has had free access to over 95% of our inshore waters since the 1980’s, to the detriment of habitats, biodiversity, fisheries, and communities.

In 1889 a law was passed to protect fish stocks and small boats by banning trawling (except by sail) from within three nautical miles of the shore. Catastrophically the law was removed in 1984 against a backdrop of the industrialization of fishing technology, breaches of the Three Mile Limit, and declining offshore fish stocks.  Access to the inshore appeared to improve catches for a short while, but inevitably led to the rapid decline of fish stocks as seabed habitats – vital nurseries and shelter for many species – were destroyed.

See the trailer of their film The Limit below:

Our Seas are asking you to sign their petition to Bring Back the Fish and Bring Back Scotland’s Inshore Limit. You can sign the petition by clicking here.

For more information about the work of Our Seas visit their website by clicking here.

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And the winner of our AP Diving 45M Ratcheted Pocket Reel competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win an AP Diving 45M Ratcheted Pocket Reel from our good friends at AP Diving!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Simon Nicholls from the UK.

Congratulations Simon – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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