It’s one of those those things that just doesn’t get enough attention. It’s been nearly 2 months since another major oil spill off the coast in Mauritius.

The damage caused by oil spilled from the Japanese vessel spread 4,000 litres of fuel split into precious waters, including protected waters – protected for one main reason; the abundance of coral reefs in the area.

Scientists from the UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) were sent in August after the local government asked for assitance.  While this is one step, there is so much more local and international government should be doing to clean up such mess. Fortunately, British Marine Biologists are some of the best trained in the world, and so the quality of the support should be high.

As a marine biologist I’ve seen the affects of these disasters first hand, and we live in a world where the government support to such matters will be low. Sadly, the amount of income sent to protect most marine areas is less than what we give politicans to travel first class to even discuss said event.

Mauritius Biodiversity

A lot of oil spills can happen far off the coast, and those can often be easier to ‘deal with’ because animals can simply move away from the oil. The location of this specific oil spill is very dangerous to marine life and the fragility of reef ecosystems can be easy ruined by such events.

However, this spill has taken place near two sacred and highly importany marine ecosystems; and it’s also close to the Blue Bay Marine Park reserve which is recognized internationally as a important wetland area. The whole ecosystem can be damage, from the plants, to the substrate of the wetland – and for a long time too.

Mauritius is a biodiversity miracle, with a plethora of plants and animals unique to its region. The ecosystem is said to have some 1,700 species inhabiting the rich marine enviroment, including around 800 types of reef fish, 17 kinds of marine mammals and two species of turtles (source).

 

I can tell you that the region is one of few places with this much Marine biodiversity in the world, and it’s a terrbile thing to happen. More terrible is the lack of attention these events receive.

– Christopher Hunter, Marine Biologist

It’s clear what happened is awful, and while you may be feeling defeated if you’re reading this, there’s always things you can do to get involved and help, even if it’s just cleaning up trash at your local beach or lake.

Cover image credit: IMO Flickr CC 2.0

About the author

Authority Aquarium Staff

Authority Aquarium Staff writers are experts and aquarium enthusiasts, our in-house marine biologist fact checks all our content and reviews to bring you the best advice for your aquarium health.

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