National Report: The Marine Biodiversity of Mauritius
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The coastline of the island of Mauritius is 322 km long and is almost completely surrounded by fringing coral reefs enclosing a lagoon area totaling 243 km. The volcanic nature of the island's origin, the existence of coral reefs and the access to the lagoons of more than 50 rivers and rivulets, determine the diversity of the coastal habitats, flora and fauna. The island has several sandy beaches, protected bays and calm lagoons - factors that have favoured a prosperous tourism industry. Economically, the coastal zone is by far the most valuable segment of the Mauritian territory. Located here are the tourist facilities, secondary residences, ports, fisheries infrastructure and public beaches. Figure 3 gives the changes in coastal land distribution from 1990 - 2000. In this zone billions of rupees are being invested in the form of hotels, infrastructure, water sport facilities, biodiversity conservation, coastal protection and coastal developments in general. Environmental problems wh.....