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It is good news indeed that Mauritius is proposing to add a third site to the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance. We agree the lagoon at Pointe d’Esny is well worth protecting. The problem is that protection is not something that we are particularly good at. Blue Bay Marine Park has been on the Ramsar list since 2008, however UNDP and ECOSUD recognise that the regulations are not being enforced. The other “Marine Park” at Balaclava has hardly being protected at all since it was declared in 2000.

When in its pristine condition, the whole of the Mauritian coast would have qualified to go on the Ramsar list. Not just the lagoons but the inland wetlands that protected them as well. If you ever wondered why the waters of Grand Baie are so cloudy ask a long time inhabitant. Just a few decades ago the bay was crystal clear, full of coral, lobster and fish. Then development started, the wetlands were backfilled and storm drains installed to replace them. Heavy rains washed soil straight into the bay and we can see the result. We have lost so much that it is not only vital to protect the little that remains, we owe it to future generations to restore the damage that was done in the past and that continues today.

Pointe d’Esny is a step in the right direction, but there is still a long, long way to go…