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Under Construction

(fig 1)


Map of Rodrigues








hill(fig 2)

Rodrigues has been aptly named, in the text book Geomorphological Analysis of Mauritius, as a Hill in the Sea. Indeed, Rodrigues, in spite of its small size (100 square km) and low altitude mountains (the highest peak is about 400 m above sea level), is a very hilly place with tortuous roads that go up and down steep mountain sides.

Situated 800 kilometres to the east of mainland Mauritius, it is part of the Republic and its inhabitants are Mauritian citizens. The population is about 34,000.


(fig 3)

Coastal Zones Of Rodrigues and its Lagoon

Port Mathurin

(fig 4)

Port Mathurin (fig 4) is the main town of the island and acts as administrative centre. It is a delightful little town where is found the only port of Rodrigues.


As at December 1994, the population of Rodrigues stood at 34,678.

Over the past decade, the population has increased only slightly going up from 33,878 in 1985 to 34,678 in 1994. This very small increase is mainly due to a net migration away from Rodrigues to Mauritius. That Rodrigues attains a stable population is important as it is doubtful whether the island can support a much larger number of people.


(fig 5)

( St Gabriel Church)

The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of Rodrigues are Catholics but there are a few Muslim and Hindu families that reside in Port Mathurin mainly.


The economy of the island is mainly depended upon agriculture, husbandry, fisheries and more recently, tourism.

Agriculture and Husbandry

(Fig 6,7,8)


Fishing is a very important economic activity for Rodrigues as it is a source of affordable protein and of substantial revenue for the population. It has been estimated that up to 11% of the population is involved in fishing activities either as professionals or amateurs. Unfortunately the lagoon is being over fished. (see Coastal Zones Of Rodrigues and its Lagoon for further details.)

Local Press articles on Rodrigues fisheries (in french)

La pêche aux ourites à bout de souffle (Le Mauricien 20 aout 2001)

Export of fisheries product to Mauritius

Commodity in (Kgs)




Salted Fish




Dry Octopus




Frozen Octopus




Other Sea Products





In 1994, 4013 tourists visited the island, but that figure excludes mauritians visiting Rodrigues as tourists.

Handy Crafts

Basket making and weaving from natural fibres is an important activity for Rodriguans who have a ready supply of cheap and useful articles for the household. Furthermore, these articles are readily purchased by tourists providing a non negligible source of income.

(fig 9)

A handy craft shop in Port Mathurin

Environmental Stresses

The most serious environmental problems facing the island are:

Coastal resources degradation and over fishing

Lack of infrastructure for water supply and distribution

Soil erosion and land degradation

Solid and Liquid Waste Disposal

The water supply

From 1983 to 1995 the percentage of households with piped water rose from 50% to 75%, which is a significant increase, but more need to be done. The difficulty in providing piped water to all stems from the fact that habitats tend to be scattered over wide areas that are often hilly making it expensive and difficult to lay the infrastructure in the first place (fig 10).

(Fig 10)

(Houses on a hill top)

Furthermore, the water supply system is in urgent need of repair and upgrades.

The daily water demand is currently at 8000 m3.

Soil Erosion and Land Degradation

Solid and Liquid Waste Disposal


(1)Government of Mauritius, State Of The Environment Report, 1991
(2)Central Statistical Office, Abstract of Statistical Data on Rodrigues, 1994

Date on the web: 23rd of June 1998

Last Update: 16th of August 1998