National Ocean Science Forum 2003, 18 - 19 July, Réduit
The participants representing all ocean-related public Institutions, private sectors and NGOs at the First National Ocean Science Forum held at Reduit on 18 and 19 July 2003.
The request of the President of the Republic of Mauritius Mr. Karl A Offmann, G.O.S.K., during his opening address to undertake an all-out concerted effort to explore and assess the economic potential of the large Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic and using the acquired knowledge for the sustainable socio-economic development of Mauritius and to develop strategies in this direction.
The need to develop and strengthen marine activities in an integrated manner with the involvement and participation of all stakeholders to ensure better effectiveness and productivity.
1.The proposals of the various national reports on the enhancement of marine activities in the Republic of Mauritius.
2.The recommendations of the Rio Earth Summit- 1992, Barbados Conventions for SIDS- 1994, Johannesburg World Summit- 2002, IOCWIO - 1996, 2002, IOGOOS - 2002 and agenda of Mauritius Convention for SIDS - 2004 on marine and coastal issues.
3.The objectives of NGCC, Mauritius to:
◦help coordinate marine research activities in the country
◦facilitate interdisciplinary and multi-institutional concerted efforts to bridge gaps in research
◦encourage visible and usable marine research
◦institute National Excellence Award
◦organize science forums and workshops to disseminate ocean research information
Make the following common and specific recommendations.
I. COMMON RECOMMENDATIONS
•That the Ocean Science Forum be organised on an annual basis to enable local scientists to present result of their studies, promote exchange of ideas and plan future activities.
•That Mauritius should ensure a clear road map to her future ocean related activities in a comprehensive manner through the adoption of a Vision document.
•That effort should be made to achieve the Vision through long term, and short term, problem-specific, theme-based, time-bound, result-oriented, socially-relevant, inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional research and development activities.
•That to prepare directories on available human resources, field equipment, laboratory instruments, ongoing project details and bibliography of publications (papers/ reports/ dissertations) of all the institutions in the country.
II. SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS
Bio- chemical processes
•That as marine biotechnology is an area of research of immense potential, links with overseas research groups be established and young scientists be attracted to build capacity in the field.
•That sufficient funding be provided for focused programme based on national needs.
•That a strategic position paper on management of coral reefs be prepared with the participation of all stakeholders.
•That the aquaculture programme of larvae collection and growth for release in the natural environment be strengthened.
•That the study of ground water flux into the marine environment using isotopic indicators be extended to all estuarine regimes.
•That remote sensing and GIS oriented management of marine and coastal resources be developed and strengthened.
•That special attention be focused to develop and coordinate a comprehensive plan on capacity building in terms of human resources and infrastructure in acquiring, interpreting and applying remotely sensed information for coastal zone planning and ocean-climate research.
•That collaboration with regional and global partners and countries be encouraged. Obtain benefit from IOC (IOCWIO, IOGOOS), UNDP, UNEP and WMO sponsored projects.
•That a programme on beach profile measurement be implemented on a routine basis during different periods of the year at selected sites around the country to monitor short term variations and long term changes for coastal management purposes.
•That a project on coastal modeling be initiated to enhance understanding of the hydrodynamics of the lagoon.
•That a comprehensive programme for the study of the EEZ of Mauritius with focus on the Mascarene Plateau be prepared. This may include collection of underway information and sampling by various means to understand geomorphological and sedimentological regimes prevailing in the area and to trace archaeological history.
•That studies to understand the evolution of the island of Mauritius using corals, foraminifera and other proxies for sea level changes be planned.
•That bathymetric survey of the lagoons using up-to-date technology be carried out for navigation purposes and ecosystem maintenance.
•That mineral exploration and mining prospects in the EEZ of Mauritius be encouraged.
1.That Mauritius takes the initiative to start procedures in order to recognise the Mascarene plateau as a potential Large Marine Ecosystem.
2.That the monitoring of ballast water to avoid the risk of introducing alien species in the marine environment be introduced and strengthened.
3.That enhanced research be directed to harness coastal energy resources.
•That studies to relate western Indian ocean fisheries to climate variability be initiated to improve understanding and better management of fish stock.
•That the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on the Mauritius and outer islands be assessed. The establishment of long term sea level stations at St Brandon and Agalega should be planned in this context.
•That the influence of large scale ocean and atmospheric signals on coastal circulation, coastal erosion, water quality and health of coral using Indian Ocean data sets (satellite SST, sea surface height, WOCE and ARGO data) be assessed.
•That ocean and meteorological observations in the Western Indian Ocean be enhanced to enable better weather and climate forecast such as cyclone trajectories.
•That the recommendations are widely distributed within the marine community in Mauritius and among collaborating partners.
•That financial sources are identified for proposals that need funding for implementation.
•That the National GOOS Co-ordination Committee develops programmes on the basis of the Forum recommendations.
That the recommendations be submitted to policy-makers at the highest level.
To co-operate and work relentlessly in partnership in order to implement the recommendations of the Forum and contribute to improve the marine environment and ensure sustainable development of marine resources for the benefit of the population of the Republic of Mauritius.