The Maldives have some of the richest coral reefs on earth, making the country a top destination for divers, snorkelers and beach combers alike. This is a blessing to the country as the tourism industry together with fisheries, which also rely on coral reefs, generate much needed income to the nation's economy.
Unfortunately, coral reefs are among the most vulnerable habitats in the current context of global climate change and if nothing is done, the reefs could be lost which would have dramatic effects on the economy as well as the geo-physical stability of the country, not to mention the loss of amazing marine life and spectacular seascapes.
Kuoni, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Seamarc are teaming up to raise awareness within the tourism industry, local communities and visitors to the Maldives and to promote best reef management strategies to curb the loss of reefs. The project draws on the expertise of the three partners: Kuoni being a leading operator in the tourism industry, IUCN, the largest international environmental organisation, most famous for its Red List of Endangered Species and Seamarc being engaged in reef conservation and management projects in the Maldives since 2000.
Over the coming months, workshops will be organised in several atolls to give resort managers the keys to understanding reef resilience and to include sustainable responses in their management plans. The training will focus on house-reef management as well as waste management, communicating to staff and guests.
The workshops will also focus on the implementation of a national reef monitoring programme together with the Marine Research Centre. This will allow managers to better
predict and respond to crisis situations such as massive coral bleaching by using observations made by the prime users of reefs who visit dive sites on a daily basis and are best able to observe any change in the habitats.
The project is also looking at linking resorts to nearby local island communities by working together on environmental issues such as waste management, composting or permaculture as well as raising awareness on climate change and coral reefs and other environmental issues among the Maldivian population.
For more information please contact:
Ms. Marie Goarin