Indian Ocean

Shark accidentally caught on a longline.

Innovative Project Aims to Reduce Shark Bycatch

In La Réunion, an island in the Indian Ocean that is an overseas department and region of France, small-scale fishers often use surface longlines targeting tuna and billfish, but this sometimes leads to the accidental capture of sharks.

The EU-funded ASUR project is researching innovative methods to reduce the incidental catch of sharks by these longlines, bringing together scientists and fishermen to tag and release sharks and to test equipment designed to reduce shark mortality.

The hawksbill sea turtle's elongated, tapered head ends in a beak-like mouth—from which its common name is derived.

Hawksbill Sea Turtles in the Indian Ocean Rely on Deep, Remote Habitats

Recent studies have employed sophisticated satellite tracking technology to follow hawksbill sea turtles to their most frequented feeding grounds in the Indian Ocean. These advances have allowed researchers to gain unprecedented insights into the turtles' precise movements and behaviours at depths previously unobserved.

Reunion Island: Jewel of the Southern Indian Ocean

Soldierfish under an overhang at Tahiti, Réunion Island. Photo by Pierre Constant
Soldierfish under an overhang at Tahiti, Réunion Island. Photo by Pierre Constant

Elliptical in shape, Reunion Island is located in the southern Indian Ocean, 800km east of Madagascar as the crow flies, and 200km west-south-west of Mauritius Island. With a surface of 2,512 sq km and a perimeter of 207km, it is the emerged tip of a volcanic mound that rose 7,000m above the ocean floor. Pierre Constant shares his adventure to this exotic and remote island.

Filephoto: Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

New Population of Pygmy Blue Whales Discovered

Pygmy blue whales are the smallest members of the blue whale family, but that's the only small thing about them: they can reach up to 24 meters long.

Despite their enormous size, blue whales have been difficult to observe in the Southern Hemisphere as they live offshore and don't jump around like the humpback whales; thus, for some regions, their population structure, distribution and migration routes remain poorly understood. In particular, little is known about the blue whales in the northern Indian Ocean.

Not Just a FAD: Saving the Reefs in the Seychelles Islands

A diver cuts lose a FAD tangled in the reef, Alphonse Atoll, Seychelles. Photo by Christian Burger.

Drifting fish aggregating devices (dFADs) are threatening endangered marine species and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Marine conservationist Lucy Martin worked with the Island Conservation Society (ICS), a non-governmental organization in the Seychelles, on a large survey in 2015 to find out how big an issue FADs actually were.