Why are there so few corals in Mauritius?
Despite constant concerns of climate change-related effects and their influence on coral reefs worldwide, climate change only plays a very minor role in the decline of Mauritian coral reefs and our reefs have mostly been spared major damage. Since the global mass bleaching events of 1998, despite a massive coral loss in the Indian Ocean, coral cover in Mauritius actually increased.
Today only stories from older generations of a once more colorful and abundant coral reef live remain.
During bad weather, this can often be observed during our dives with visibility dropping from more than 20m down to less than 15m.
The major sources of long-term coral loss in Mauritius include:
– Removal of wetlands to make space for human settlements (and nowadays big
hotels/resorts). These wetlands used to trap a lot of sediments before they entered the ocean.
– Sand removal for construction sites all over the island (fortunately illegal by now)
– Coastal and industrial development
– Overfishing and destructive fishing methods
– The tourism industry, especially dropping of anchors from tour boats (unfortunately still also dive boats) and shell and coral collection
Especially since a major part of the reef were already severely degraded before the first divers explored the depth of our coasts.
 Reef Conservation Mauritius, https://www.reefconservation.mu/