The #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign, led by the Blue Marine Foundation and Maldives Underwater Initiative, has convinced more than 25 per cent of the country’s high-end resorts to protect their seagrass meadows.
The Maldives’ Ministry of Tourism has also come out in support of the campaign to stop the removal of seagrass beds. Seagrass is commonly removed in the Maldives when it is found near resort islands because managers believe it ruins the clear, picturesque lagoons that tourists expect on holiday.
More than 30 resorts joined the campaign and collectively they pledged to protect more than 830,000 square metres of seagrass around resort islands across the country.
The website www.protectmaldivesseagrass.com had more than 22,000 visits in a 4-month period, with the #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass hashtag mentioned over over 300 times a day at the height of the campaign. Over 1,600 people from both the local and international community have registered their support to protect seagrass in the Maldives.
Charles Clover, Executive Director of the Blue Marine Foundation, said: “Many resorts have joined the campaign and are now protecting this critical habitat, however, some resorts are still continuing to remove their seagrass. Support from the government, resorts, organisations and tourists, is evidence that seagrass removal is finally ready to be put to an end.” Seagrass is vital to the low-lying island nation of the Maldives; it prevents beach erosion, fights climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, provides food for sea turtles, supports fisheries and houses juvenile coral reef fish.
Charles Clover also said: “Seagrass needs to be protected if the Maldives’ marine environment is to have the best chance of withstanding the environmental challenges expected over the next century.”
Six Senses Laamu, the resort that inspired the campaign, has been protecting their seagrass since 2017 and has successfully shown that seagrass and tourism can coexist.
Marteyne van Well, General Manager of Six Senses Laamu, said: “It’s inspiring to see so many resorts come together and advocate for seagrass. With the number of new resorts on
the rise, it’s vital that this expansion is done sustainably to protect the countries’ unique marine environment that people all over the world come to visit.”
Find out which resorts to support at www.protectmaldivesseagrass.com