.Linley Bignoux/Canon EOS 7D, with Ikelite underwater housing, DS 160 Ikelite flash.
There are approximately 450 underwater shipwrecks surrounding Mauritius, with some shipwrecks dating as far back as the 16th century Like many shipwrecks worldwide they act as artificial reefs which in turn provide their habitats for many marine species.
With over 345 km of coastline that Mauritius offers, these shipwrecks sustain an underwater ecosystem that gives shelter and a home to many marine species.
There are a further 86 shipwrecks that have been found that span the vast Mauritian territorial waters and dependency islands that form part of the Republic of Mauritius such as Agalega, Chagos, St Brandon and Rodrigues islands.
The total number of shipwrecks that have been identified to date in Mauritian territory is 540.
Mauritian underwater shipwrecks provide further research and knowledge in marine archaeological preservation whilst providing cultural and historical preservation. The island itself has been rich and vast in marine archaeological findings for many years now.
As for the sciences such as marine biology and to some extent oceanography, underwater shipwrecks provide wider opportunities for the research and study of these unique habitats inside the shipwreck, their ecosystem formations and interactions with the surrounding underwater environment of these shipwrecks themselves.
Around 40 shipwrecks at varying depths are scuba dive sites and can be accessed for underwater exploration, both for recreational and technical purposes in Mauritius and the dependency of Rodrigues island.
For just over 37 years shipwrecks began being scuttled (sank )into the tropical waters of Mauritius to act as artificial reefs A practice which has had many positive results thus far.