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The Maldives’ atolls are the jewels of the Indian Ocean. Its reef ecosystem is the seventh largest in the world and the largest in the Indian Ocean 

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 Coral reefs are not only the foundation of the Maldivian economy but also the foundation of every island; they act as natural barriers and protect the low-lying islands from the eroding forces of the sea. Yet, due to over exploitation – fishing, tourism, pollution, coastal development and climate change – these reefs are degrading and losing their capacity to support the people who depend on them.  

Together with our locally affiliated NGO, Maldives Resilient Reefs (MRR), which we helped to establish in 2020, Blue Marine aims to restore the Maldivian reefs as climate resilient ecosystems by expanding marine protection, improving fisheries management, promoting sustainable tourism and strengthening the capacities of Maldivian marine conservationists.

Timeline of Success 

MRR and Blue Marine have worked with Laamu Hithadhoo Council on a Community Conserved Area (CCA) in a location that encompasses a grouper spawning aggregation, a manta ray cleaning station, and diverse coral reefs and seagrass meadows. After wide engagement with the community, we formulated a regulation and a management plan in 2024. This novel project created a blueprint for CCAs across the Maldives, through which communities can directly benefit from conservation.   

 In 2020, MRR and Blue Marine established the Maldives’ first sustainable resort reef fishery programme at our partner resort Six Senses Laamu. This programme works with local fishers to create a market among resorts for local seafood that is sustainable and traceable. In 2023, we have rolled out the programme to three new atolls and resorts.   

In 2023 we launched Masmahaaa-Veshi, an interactive e-learning platform providing information about reef biodiversity, fisheries and sustainable management. It was received positively by the government and is used in community meetings.  

In 2021, knowledge gathered by MRR and Blue Marine on coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses and fish spawning was used to justify six new Marine Protected Areas on Laamu Atoll and to designate the whole atoll as a Mission Blue Hope Spot.  

Empowering communities through citizen science, MRR and the Blue Marine team have trained more than 20 new SCUBA divers from Laamu Atoll, seven of whom were trained in the national coral-reef monitoring protocols. 

Few months after our #FishForTomorrow campaign in 2021, which raised awareness on vulnerable and ecologically significant species on Maldivian reefs, all species of parrotfish were declared as protected in the Maldives. 

Habitats like seagrass account for ten per cent of the ocean’s capacity to store carbon, making it an important natural solution for mitigating climate change. In 2019, Blue Marine launched the #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass social media campaign, together with our partner resort Six Senses Laamu, to call on resorts to stop removing the seagrasses around their islands to make clear lagoons for their guests. We convinced more than a quarter of resorts in the Maldives to commit to protecting almost 3,000,000 miles of seagrass.   

Our Grouper Fishery and Conservation project from 2016-18, led to improved grouper fishery management measures such as size limit revisions for highly targeted species and ban of destructive fishing gear.  


Key stats

¼ of all Maldives resorts committed to protecting seagrass

830,000m2 of seagrass protected

200 students taken snorkelling for the first time

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