The Eparses Islands
On a suggestion by Bruno David, President of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) last December, it was decided to concentrate bioprospecting and DNA / RNA sequencing efforts in situ on the coral reefs of the Eparses Islands, placed under the authority of the Prefecture of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) and the National Navy which controls access, because these five islands and islets are strictly forbidden to access. OceanoScientific has the necessary authorizations for its bioprospecting. The samples collected by the scientific divers of the OceanoScientific Expeditions will enrich the collections of the MNHN.
Rising steeply from the seabed to the surface, the Eparses Islands are distributed between 10° and 25° south latitude in the Mozambique Channel: Glorioso, Juan de Nova, Europa and Bassas da India and, to the north from Reunion: Tromelin. The combined land surface of these islands does not exceed 43 km2, but all of their waters under French jurisdiction represent a total of 640,400 km2, or approximately 6% of French maritime territory. The Eparses Islands are part of the territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF), itself associated with the European Union, as an Overseas Country and Territory.