Saint Brandon, also known as the Cargados Carajos Shoals, is an Indian Ocean archipelago, situated on the microcontinent of Mauritia based in the Mascarene Plateau, about 430 kilometres Northeast of Mauritius and is composed of sandbanks, shoals, and islets.

The archipelago is low-lying and prone to substantial submersion in severe weather. Economic activities in the region consist of diverse types of line fishing on the extensive 2300 km² shallow bank around the islands together with related environmental management activities and responsible leisure interests.

The atoll may have been discovered in the 7th century by Arab sailors but the Cargados Carajos name was applied in 1506 by Portuguese sailors who put ashore for provisioning on their way to India. Subsequently, the Dutch, the French and the English controlled the territory until the independence of Mauritius in 1968.

Saint Brandon is part of the territory of Mauritius and is grouped within the Outer Islands of Mauritius along with Agaléga, Tromelin, and the Chagos Archipelago. The Outer Islands are defined as “all the islands comprised in the State of Mauritius other than the Islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues.  They are administered from Port Louis by the Outer Island Development Corporation (“OIDC”) which reports directly to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The archipelago covers an area of 190 km² and measures over 50 Kms from North to South. It is between 3 and 7 Kms wide and intersected by three passes. Raphaël Island and South Island are the Company’s management centres and have a small population composed mostly of fishermen. On Raphaël Island, there is a meteorological station and a National Coast Guard installation built by the Mauritian authorities and managed by the National Coast Guard.

Since 1928, 13 of the Outer Islands, namely La Baleine, Coco, Petit Fous, Avocaire, Ile aux Fous, Ile du Gouvernement, Grand Mapou, Petit Mapou, Raphaël,  Verronge, Ile aux Bois, Ile Boisées also known as “South Island” and Baleine Rocks, have been under the management of The Raphaël Fishing Company Ltd. through a Permanent Lease given by the government of Mauritius.

This Permanent Lease was additionally confirmed by a judgment rendered by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as being a Permanent Grant on the 30th of July 2008.

To partially fund marine and terrestrial biodiversity conservation, responsible fishing and related activities, such as controlled fishing trips are organised on the islands.