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Maldives ranks 7th in the world for coral reefs

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In a recent study conducted by Slingo, Maldives has emerged as the seventh country with the most extensive coral reef areas in the world. The research, which aimed to determine the best countries for adventure holidays based on natural attractions such as volcanoes, coral reefs, and waterfalls, analyzed data to create an ‘adventure score’ for each country.

The study revealed that the top 10 countries with the largest coral reef areas are dominated by Indonesia and Australia, taking the first and second spots, respectively. However, Maldives claimed an impressive seventh position, highlighting the nation’s significant contribution to global coral reef conservation.

With a coral reef area spanning 8,920 square kilometers, Maldives possesses a diverse and vibrant marine ecosystem. Coral reefs are known to cover less than 1% of the ocean floor but support more than 25% of all marine life. For wildlife enthusiasts, exploring these coral reefs offers a thrilling adventure filled with encounters with magnificent creatures such as whales, sea turtles, and thousands of species of fish.

The Maldives’ achievement in this study underscores its commitment to preserving its natural heritage and marine biodiversity. The country has implemented various measures to protect its coral reefs, including the establishment of marine protected areas and the promotion of sustainable tourism practices. These efforts have not only ensured the well-being of marine ecosystems but have also enhanced the tourism industry, which heavily relies on the allure of the Maldivian underwater world.

Indonesia, with 51,020 square kilometers of coral reef area, emerged as the country with the highest percentage of Earth’s coral reefs at 17.95%. Australia closely trailed behind with 48,960 square kilometers of coral reefs, representing 17.22% of the global total. Notably, Australia also boasts the most extensive collection of national parks in the world, with a staggering total of 685.

As the world recognizes the importance of preserving natural wonders, this study serves as a reminder of the environmental significance and global recognition of Maldives’ coral reefs. The Maldivian government, along with local communities and stakeholders, will undoubtedly continue to work tirelessly to safeguard these vital ecosystems and promote sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that future generations can experience the unparalleled beauty of the Maldivian underwater world.

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Dive into memorable underwater adventure with Baros Maldives’s Eco Explorer Experience

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In today’s world, where the fragile balance of marine ecosystems teeters on the edge, to call for sustainable tourism practices resonates louder than ever. Baros Maldives, deeply rooted in its respect for nature, leads the way in conservation and preservation. Baros’s Eco Explorer Experience stands as a testament to the island’s commitment, inviting guests to not just observe but to actively contribute to the safeguarding of our underwater sanctuaries.

Nestled on a lush, natural island paradise, Baros is a sanctuary surrounded by a kaleidoscope of marine life, boasting a world-class house reef, celebrated for its unparalleled beauty and biodiversity, attracting adventurers and nature lovers alike.

The Eco Explorer Experience is a carefully curated immersive experience designed for those who seek to delve deeper into the mysteries of the ocean. This experience is more than an adventure; it’s a journey of discovery and contribution, offering intimate encounters with the marvels of the sea, all while promoting marine conservation.

With this experience, Baros guests enjoy a myriad of enriching activities, culminating in a bespoke photobook documenting the essence of their Eco Explorer journey beneath the waves.

Coral Restoration and Conservation: Participants will immerse themselves in coral ecology, by planting personal coral gardens under the guidance of Baros’s resident Marine Biologist. This hands -on experience not only fosters coral growth but also contributes to the restoration of these vital habitats. Through the Coral Cube initiative, guests will apply innovative techniques like using fast plug cement to build thriving underwater ecosystems. The Baros marine team will share bi-annual updates with the guests so that they can follow the growth of their corals.

Marine Life Identification: This educational session equips guests with the knowledge to identify different fish species and understand their vital roles within the marine ecosystem. Equipped with snorkelling gear and new insights, guests will explore Baros’s world- class house reef during a snorkelling tour, guided by the resident marine biologist, to witness the vibrant marine life.

Night Snorkelling and Bioluminescence: As night falls, the reef reveals a different kind of beauty. With UV lights, guests will explore this nocturnal wonderland, observing the reef’s inhabitants in a new light. This magical experience is not only enchanting but also educational, offering insights into coral health and the ecosystem’s delicate balance.

Baros recognises the fragility of the marine environment and is committed to fostering sustainable tourism practices. The Eco Explorer Experience is more than a holiday activity, it’s an invitation to become part of a larger movement, advocating for the protection and preservation of our marine environments.

Join the Baros marine team on this extraordinary journey. Together, dive deeper, explore further, and unveil the boundless wonders of the ocean, ensuring they remain vibrant for generations to come.

For bookings and more information, please visit www.baros.com or contact Baros directly at reservations@baros.com or call +960 664 26 72.

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Six Senses Laamu celebrates anniversary of Sea Hub of environmental learning in Laamu

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Six Senses Laamu commemorates the one-year anniversary of its Sea Hub of Environmental Learning in Laamu (SHELL), highlighting the resort’s steadfast dedication to marine conservation and environmental education.

In March 2023, Six Senses Laamu unveiled the SHELL on its sunset beach, marking a pivotal milestone in the journey toward fostering environmental awareness and education. The 2,336 square-foot (217 square-metre) immersive exhibition space invites resort guests, hosts, and Maldivian residents to explore and learn about the colorful and vibrant local marine life. Investing further in marine conservation, the SHELL houses a working marine laboratory run by the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI), a collaborative endeavour featuring marine biologists from Six Senses Laamu, working hand in hand with three partnering NGOs: Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, and Olive Ridley Project. Currently, the research team comprises over ten marine biologists.

Collaborative Research Efforts Yield Remarkable Results

The SHELL has expanded MUI’s research capabilities, with notable projects including coral larval restoration and sea turtle DNA analysis. Ten thousand baby corals from over five different species are currently grown at the SHELL. Over 12 million coral larvae have already been released onto the resort’s house reef. The turtle genetics project involves taking genetic samples from deceased hatchlings and continues to contribute to a better understanding of the Maldivian sea turtle population.

In addition to these projects, the MUI team has conducted numerous research initiatives, such as the identification and registration of over 1,000 turtles and more than 140 manta rays in Laamu Atoll. These research projects contribute to a wider understanding of Laamu’s marine life and environment, resulting in the publication of a peer-reviewed scientific paper on marine megafauna and blue carbon analysis of seagrass and mangrove habitats.

Community Engagement and Recognition

Throughout the past year, the SHELL has welcomed 24 distinguished visitors, including renowned naturalist and BBC presenter Steve Backshall. Engagements with university professors, researchers, and even astronauts during Karman Week, have led to valuable partnerships and research collaborations.

Beyond research, the SHELL serves as a space for exploration and education. Six Senses Laamu has welcomed over 300 community members to the SHELL over the past year. A key initiative, the “Hello Hallu” program, was designed to inspire and motivate students to actively participate in preserving their local ecosystems. The program achieved widespread impact by reaching every school across Laamu Atoll, engaging 237 students in total. Together, with the MUI team, students explored the habitats of Laamu, including mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs, as well as sustainable fishing practices and megafauna.

The SHELL was honoured with the Aspire Sustainability Initiative of the Year Award in 2023, recognising the groundbreaking sustainability efforts by Six Senses Laamu and showcasing the resort’s commitment to marine conservation.

“The SHELL is an incredible achievement from our efforts in research, education and community engagement,” says Lawrence Menz, Six Senses Laamu’s Director of Sustainability and Conservation. “It began as a dream over 5 years ago and marks several milestones in Laamu Atoll’s marine conservation. Since its opening, we were able to welcome over 6,000 guests and members of the local community in the SHELL. The greatest reward for us is hearing local students expressing their newfound inspiration for their island home, stating that visiting the SHELL has encouraged them to share the importance of conservation with their parents, family, and friends.”

Six Senses Laamu’s General Manager, Marteyne van Well, commented, “The SHELL serves as a testament to our unwavering dedication to environmental stewardship, providing a dynamic platform to inspire, educate, and contribute to the ongoing conservation efforts in the Maldives.”

Van Well has also recently been recognised in Forbes magazine as one of ‘4 Women Creating Ways To Protect The Ocean,’.

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Diving Dreams Take the Plunge: New PADI Five Star Academy Opens in Maldives

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Maldives’ first and only PADI Five Star Career Development Center, the Maldivian Academy of Diving, has officially opened its doors in K. Himmafushi. This new academy signifies a major step forward for professional dive training in the Maldives.

The Academy is dedicated to providing top-tier, professional-level dive training programs that meet the most rigorous standards set by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). They recently concluded their inaugural PADI Instructor Development Course on March 3rd, and their next PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Course is scheduled for July 29th to August 13th, 2024.

Leading the Academy is Adam Ashraf, a PADI Platinum Course Director for both 2022 and 2023. For the past decade, Ashraf has been running Dive Desk, a highly successful dive center in Malé. In fact, Dive Desk was the most successful PADI professional development center in the Maldives in 2023, earning the prestigious PADI EMEA Platinum Professional Development Excellence Award. This award recognizes the center’s exceptional performance in training new dive professionals, with Dive Desk being the only Maldivian center and one of only ten in the entire Europe, Middle-East & Africa (EMEA) region to receive this recognition.

Platinum status for both the Course Director and the Dive Center is not given lightly. It’s awarded based on a strict criteria of the number of professional-level certifications issued by PADI. Adding to Dive Desk’s accolades, they were also awarded the PADI Outstanding Contribution to People and Humanity Award last month for their dedication to fostering opportunities for Maldivians in the diving industry.

Despite a decade of success and consistently running the top PADI professional development programs in the Maldives for the past seven years, Dive Desk faced challenges. Limited space at their facility and the high cost of accommodation for students staying in Malé for extended periods were significant hurdles.

The Maldivian Academy of Diving was established specifically to address these issues. Located in Himmafushi, the Academy offers a more spacious learning environment and affordable accommodation options for students, all within close proximity to the capital city. The Academy will soon be offering on-site dorm rooms as well.

The Academy caters to all levels of diving experience, from those just beginning their underwater journey to seasoned divers seeking to become instructors. They offer a comprehensive range of courses and certifications to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their diving goals.

The opening of the Maldivian Academy of Diving represents a significant milestone in Adam Ashraf’s ongoing mission to empower Maldivian youth to pursue careers in the diving industry.

For more information dive into www.divedesk.mv

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