1. Development of a team of partners with complimentary skills/experience (see point 4)
2. Confirmation of target species that fulfil project criteria:
(a) Current or potential exploitation as commercial or subsistence fisheries
(b) Trans-boundary populations – management of fished populations, and consequent protection of genetic biodiversity, is most difficult for species with widespread distributions across the national waters of multiple countries. Understanding of how populations in different nations’ waters interact is fundamental to biodiversity preservation.
(c) Life history characteristics that in combination with other target species offer tests to better understand dispersal of populations and genetic diversity across the region.
(target species identified during preliminary studies are octopus (O.cyanea and O.vulgaris) and deepwater snapper (Lutjanus sp))
3. Development of detailed sampling protocols to take account of species biology (specific to local populations), oceanographic features of the region, and limitations or potential difficulties with particular localities (see point 4).
4. Liaison with representatives from regional fisheries and development organisations. The scoping trip to Mauritius will take place to coincide with a regional development and fisheries management meeting at which representatives of all territories and key organisations in the region (e.g. ReCoMaP, ASCLME, WIOMSA) will be present. This will facilitate development of relationships with these organisations in order to understand local and regional marine biodiversity issues from multiple perspectives, and to develop practical links to facilitate the future DI project (e.g. sampling assistance, identification of training exchange students).