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 Institute also advises Government on the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in respect to oceanography. With an Exclusive Economic Zone that extends over an area of about 1.9 million square kilometres, Mauritius has a wide maritime zone to manage and thus has an enormous potential for exploitation of ocean resources. This coastal and ocean territory holds an immense potential for development which could play a vital role in the economy of Mauritius. All fundamental and applied research on the ocean industry will be carried out under the aegis of the Mauritius Oceanography Institute. An important achievement of the MOI was to formulate a Joint Submission to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for an extension of the Continental Shelf of the Republic of Mauritius in the region of the Mascarene Plateau in 2008. This secured an additional sea bed area of about 400,000 square kilometres for both Seychelles and the Mauritius.
The Government’s vision is to make Mauritius, within the next ten years, a nation fully conscious of its immense potential as an Ocean State. This is a key channel through which we can advance economically to greater prosperity.
The MOI falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping and is expected to play a key role in providing data and information to assist the Government in the sustainable development of the ocean economy.
The Mauritius Oceanography Institute was initially located on the 4th and 5th floors of France Centre at Victoria Avenue, Quatre-Bornes. With a new laboratory infrastructure of 3,392 m2 situated on a plot of land of 3 acres and qualified scientists, the MOI is aiming to become a centre of excellence in the region. In Albion, the MOI building comprises an administrative block, as well as several research units for the departments of physical oceanography, chemistry, biology, marine geosciences, and biotechnology. Currently, MOI is reinventing itself. It has reviewed its research agenda and restructured its scientific division. MOI staff is being strengthened and this capacity building exercise is ongoing.