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International Symposium hosted by Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru leads commitments to save sharks and rays

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Four Seasons

Four Seasons

Maldives showed its commitment to preserving the world’s sharks in 2010, when it established a shark sanctuary in its waters. To build on that, the Maldives government and The Pew Charitable Trusts brought leaders from nations in the region together on October 25 and 26, 2015 for a ministerial symposium focused on shark and ray conservation in the Indian Ocean.

Ministers and senior officials from the Maldives, an archipelago southwest of India, welcomed counterparts from Sri Lanka and the Seychelles to talk about the global crisis facing these animals. With 100 million sharks killed annually around the world, attendees discussed the urgent steps needed to safeguard these important species.

The Maldives exhibited global leadership by declaring its waters a shark sanctuary, where all sharks and rays are fully protected and used for profitable ecotourism. Shark and ray ecotourism is now a key part of the country’s economy, with one study estimating its annual value at USD 2.3 million. Research has shown that sharks are worth far more alive than when killed for their fins and meat.

“It is highly encouraging to see Indian Ocean island nations come together to discuss the economic benefits of sustainable shark and ray ecotourism,” said Daniel Fernando of the Manta Trust, which advocates for conservation of manta rays and their habitats.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru hosted the symposium, which drew shark experts from around the world to one of the epicentres of sustainable shark and ray ecotourism. Presentations and discussions allowed the region’s ministers to witness firsthand why tourists travel from all over the world to see the manta rays, reef and whale sharks that are abundant in the protected Maldivian waters.

“It’s fantastic to see these governments gather and work together to develop solutions to protect sharks and rays,” said Luke Warwick, who directs Pew’s shark conservation efforts.  ‘”Through the development of shark sanctuaries, such as the one here in the Maldives, along with international protections and strong legislation wherever sharks and rays are caught, these imperiled species can survive.”

The Sri Lankan government announced at the symposium that it has submitted a proposal to list all species of thresher sharks on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for consideration at next year’s meeting of the wildlife trade convention in South Africa. This international conservation leadership from Sri Lanka builds on the listing last November of thresher sharks on theConvention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Thresher sharks have been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the world’s most vulnerable family of sharks, so the proposal by Sri Lanka is badly needed.

“This action will help ensure that thresher sharks survive,” said Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Sri Lanka. “We see severe declines in our waters and have acted to fully protect these slow-growing sharks. We want to make sure that governments around the world work together to either fully protect or limit the catch of thresher sharks to sustainable levels, so that they survive for generations to come.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, the ministers agreed on a declaration stating their joint aim to protect the Indian Ocean’s sharks and rays, both in their own waters and through collective, international action. This declaration included further leadership from the Maldives, who committed to support this Sri Lankan thresher shark proposal, and also take decisive action themselves by proposing that the silky shark is also offered protection under CITES.

“With huge quantities of sharks still killed in the region annually, the commitments made in this declaration, and the follow-up actions that need to happen in the coming months and years will be crucial if sharks are to survive and recover in the Indian Ocean,” said Mohamed Shainee, Maldives Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture.

“The Maldives has already taken a lead in regional shark management through the creation of a shark and ray sanctuary, so these species are protected in our waters. We now are reaping the benefits of a thriving ecotourism sector. We now want the world to join us in protecting sharks and rays, starting with the adoption of these CITES Proposals at the CoP next year,” Minister Shainee added.

“As noted in the declaration, the Maldives will be proposing that silky sharks are protected through a CITES Appendix II listing – these are key sharks that keep our tuna fisheries healthy, and we want to see them protected and sustainably managed globally,” added Thoriq Ibrahim, Maldives Minister of Environment and Energy.

Awards

OZEN LIFE MAADHOO crowned as Maldives’ best romantic resort

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OZEN LIFE MAADHOO, an ultra-luxe private island retreat renowned for its romantic ambiance, has secured the title of ‘Best Romantic Resort in the Maldives’ at the esteemed Travel Time Awards in Russia. This prestigious award underscores the resort’s dedication to curating unforgettable experiences for couples seeking the ultimate romantic escape.

Organised by the publishers of Travel Time magazine, the Travel Time Awards are among the most recognised honours in the country’s travel sector. The gala event, held in Moscow and attended by industry experts, marked the third year of ceremonial presentations acknowledging the best of the best in luxury travel in 2023. Winning hotels, resorts, agents, and destinations were selected through a combined online vote by the magazine’s readers, an editorial panel, travel agencies, and Russian celebrities.

“As one of our most significant markets, Russia holds a special place for us. Receiving this prestigious award is truly an honour and testimony to the unforgettable romantic experience of our castaway island”, says Elisabeth Alleyne, General Manager of OZEN LIFE MAADHOO. “We are deeply grateful for this recognition and are committed to continuing to provide Maldivian dream escapes for honeymooners and couples from around the world.”

Couples seeking a tranquil, unforgettable honeymoon or a romantic celebration will find OZEN LIFE MAADHOO to be the ideal private island retreat. Known for its award-winning villas and exceptional dine-around options, the resort is thoughtfully designed to cater to your every need and want. Guests can enjoy intimate experiences such as private beach dinners and picturesque beach weddings, all set against the serene backdrop of the Indian Ocean’s vibrant blue hues or starlit sky.

An exclusive INDULGENCE™️ Plan, crafted to pamper you from arrival to departure. This all-encompassing holiday plan invites you to revel in the delights of island living without limits. From premium liquor to champagne, indulge in the finest libations as you soak in the breathtaking beauty of the Maldives. Let go of all worries as everything you desire is seamlessly integrated into this comprehensive holiday plan.

At OZEN LIFE MAADHOO peace, relaxation and wellbeing are cornerstones of the guest experience, with island life offering a bespoke journey tailored to individual preferences. The luxury award-winning spa by ELE|NA, one of the Maldives leading wellness brands, embodies the philosophy of the ‘elements of nature’. Guests can choose from a diverse range of holistic treatments, therapies and classes all curated to harness the energies of these natural elements.

OZEN LIFE MAADHOO’s recent accolade at the prestigious World Travel Awards, where it won the ‘Leading Villa Resort’ category, further independently confirms the islands reputation as a top luxury destination. This recognition highlights the resort’s commitment to providing an unparalleled experience for those in search of romance and luxury.

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Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives shells out for sea turtle conservation efforts

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In honor of World Turtle Day 2024, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives has announced the adoption of three sea turtles residing in the waters surrounding their island resort. The two Green Turtles and one Hawksbill Turtle, named Rehendi, Raivilla, and Raalhu, will benefit from the resort’s ongoing commitment to marine conservation.

This initiative builds upon Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ broader environmental efforts. Through a data-gathering project that utilizes Maldives Ocean temperature loggers and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, the company has developed detailed biodiversity inventories for each of its island resorts. These inventories encompass fish species, reefs, mangroves, and other ecosystems, with a particular focus on globally endangered species like sea turtles.

“As keystone species,” explains a statement from Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, “sea turtles play a critical role in maintaining the health of our oceans. Their threatened status underscores the importance of conservation efforts.” Six out of the world’s seven sea turtle species are classified as threatened with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), highlighting the urgency of protecting these magnificent creatures.

Recognizing their responsibility towards these endangered animals, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives is actively involved in supporting the Olive Ridley Project. Through their adoption and donation program, the resort contributes to the project’s vital work of rescuing and rehabilitating injured turtles, while also supporting research initiatives that improve our understanding of sea turtles and their habitats.

Sustainability is a core value at Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, further reflected in their ongoing coral propagation program. This program, along with a 2.5-year research project examining underwater environmental factors, exemplifies the resort’s commitment to protecting marine biodiversity. By transplanting corals and raising awareness of their importance, Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives is working to ensure a healthy future for the Maldivian coral reefs.

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Tripod the three-finned turtle sparks conservation efforts at Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon

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Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon, a resort committed to sustainability, has implemented a series of initiatives to protect the environment and its marine life.

The resort places a particular focus on safeguarding critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles, including the resident “Tripod,” a three-flippered turtle that frequents the island’s waters. Through their support of the Olive Ridley Project, Ellaidhoo contributes to rescuing, treating, and researching these fascinating creatures, ensuring a brighter future for their population.

Situated amidst the world’s seventh-largest coral reef system, Ellaidhoo prioritizes reef conservation. Their innovative “coral restoration through reef cubes” program has yielded remarkable results, with marine life thriving in these recycled structures.

The resort’s commitment to eco-friendliness extends beyond the underwater world. They have transformed damaged umbrellas into unique beach bags, with all proceeds supporting environmental and social initiatives in the Maldives. This includes providing reusable water bottles to local schoolchildren, promoting a reduction in single-use plastic.

Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon serves as a model for sustainable tourism, inspiring guests and local communities to embrace eco-conscious practices for the benefit of the Maldives’ breathtaking beauty.

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