The true scale of the devastating Wakashio oil spill is only just becoming apparent to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
Thousands of sea creatures have turned up dead around a small coral atoll five miles South West of the Wakashio wreck, called Ilot Brocus. Local environmental NGO, Reef to Roots, were at the location of Ilot Brocus, a protected coral atoll, when they noticed how many sea creatures had died.
The videos, that have been widely circulated by local news in Mauritius since Monday September 28, describe the scene at low tide between the beach of Le Bouchon and Ilot Brocus the weekend prior.
Jose Berchand, Vice President of Reef to Roots explains what he saw. “At low tide between Le Bouchon beach and Ilot Brocus, there is a terrible smell. There are many sea creatures that we have found dead in the lagoon. There are many dead sea snakes, many dead eels, dead Madagascan Mud Crabs (Crabe Malgaches), dead octopus, a lot of dead fish and a really high number of dead shell creatures. You can see that they are dead within their shells.”
In the video (shown above), he also explains the smell of oil around the coral atoll, and traces of the thin oil film that can be seen floating on the surface. The samples of the residue and dead sea creatures were taken away for analysis by the Government of Mauritius.
This part of Mauritius had beaches that are usually full of cone snails, hermit crabs, sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers and other shell fish. The most vibrant corals and sponges of Mauritius grew in this region, and they had been more resilient to bleaching that impacted reefs in different areas of the world.
The Southern Eastern part of the coastline of Mauritius is known for being the most unspoilt and protected from the effects of large scale tourism in Mauritius, and was an important site for scientific study.