The Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI), was established in January 2000 by the proclamation of the MOI Act (Act No. 24 of 1999). The need to rationalise and co-ordinate research and development activities related to Oceanography was the motive for the setting up of the MOI.
The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Mauritius extends over an area of about 1.9 million square kilometres and provides Mauritius with a huge maritime zone to manage. This coastal and ocean territory holds an immense potential for development and will play a vital role in the economic development of Mauritius.
Mauritius occupies a strategic position in the Indian Ocean and has the potential to play an important role in marine science research in this region. The MOI undertakes scientific research in collaboration with local and international institutions to contribute to the regional and global matrix of oceanographic science.
Like many other small island developing states, Mauritius faces the problem that land-based development has the potential to adversely impact the marine coastal environment. A major responsibility of the MOI is to monitor the marine environment around Mauritius, Rodrigues and the Outer Islands, and advise the Government on appropriate policies and strategies for the intelligent management of the living and non-living resources under its jurisdiction.
Another important task of MOI is to assist the Government of Mauritius in formulating a claim to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for an extension of the marine jurisdiction of the Republic of Mauritius. The acquisition of bathymetry and geophysical data necessary to substantiate this submission were completed in June 2002.
Mauritius made a joint submission with Seychelles over the Saya de Malha Bank and its adjoining areas at the beginning of December 2008.Two additional submissions were made to the UNCLCS in May 2009.