The Ministry of Fisheries is implementing new measures to preserve the coastal areas of the island and protect mangroves that are the habitat of young fish.
“Around 70 per cent of commercial fish species depend on mangroves, particularly in their early stages. Therefore, it is important to maintain healthy mangroves in the country,” said the minister of Fisheries, Nicolas Von Mally.
He added that most of the mangroves around the island have been damaged by a range of human activities as well as by cyclones.
“They protect the coast from wave action, which otherwise would lead to erosion,” he said.
Mangroves are illegally cut for timber, their roots are destroyed to harvest oysters and their environment is being polluted by waste or boat oil. More mangroves saplings are expected to be planted along the coastal areas in the coming months.
“It is imperative to preserve fish habitat and let the fish grow to adulthood before fishing,” said Von Mally.
Over the last decade there have been proposals from his ministry and the Marine Resources for re-plantation programmes.
“The programme became necessary because the lack of mangroves in the lagoon was responsible for a considerable drop in the fish population,” Von Mally said.