Over 30 luxury Maldives resorts commit to protect seagrass
More than 25 per cent of luxury resorts in Maldives has joined the Protect Maldives Seagrass campaign.
Led by UK-based environmental charity Blue Marine Foundation and Six Senses Laamu’s Maldives Underwater Initiative team, the Protect Maldives Seagrass campaign has convinced more than 30 high-end resorts to protect their seagrass meadows. They have collectively pledged to protect over 830,000 square metres of seagrass around resort islands across the country.
The Maldives’ tourism ministry has also come out in support of the campaign to stop the removal of seagrass beds.
The campaign’s website had more than 22,000 visits in a 4-month period, with the #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass hashtag mentioned 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.
Seagrass is the unsung hero of the Maldivian marine ecosystem. It prevents beach erosion, fights climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, and supports fisheries by providing a sanctuary for juvenile coral reef fish. Notably, seagrass is also the primary food source of green sea turtles, a critically endangered sub-species of sea turtles.
Despite being one of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet, seagrass is considered unsightly, and is often deliberately removed.
“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,” Charles Clover, Executive Director of the Blue Marine Foundation, was quoted in a statement, as saying.
“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.
“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,” Marteyne van Well, General Manager of Six Senses Laamu, said.
The Protect Maldives Seagrass campaign, launched on World Seagrass Day on March 1, brought together resorts, international advocacy and conservation groups such as Blue Marine Foundation, Greenpeace and Manta Trust, all advocating for its protection.
Learn more about the campaign at www.protectmaldivesseagrass.com and show your support for the campaign on social media by using the hashtag #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass.