The Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI), a research and environmental conservation group based at Six Senses Laamu, has been named winner of the Marine and Coastal category at the 2021 Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards.
MUI, which consists of staff from the luxury resort and partner NGOs Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and Olive Ridley Project, previously won the same category in 2018.
“To receive this award twice is an incredible achievement and it is testament to the progress MUI has made in the realms of marine conservation since we won our first Skål Award three years ago,” said Marteyne van Well, Six Senses Laamu General Manager.
MUI was placed top in its category after three independent sustainability experts judged 50 entrees from 26 countries. The marine biology team has presented their research to both scientific and governmental bodies, and provided marine conservation and environmental education to school children in Laamu Atoll.
In December, the MUI team also celebrated the government’s decision to designate six spots in the southern atoll as Marine Protected Areas, including a turtle nesting beach, seagrass areas, mangroves and wetlands. Research on marine ecosystems and species conducted by the MUI marine biology team was used as evidence to support the decision.
“Since MUI was formed, our ultimate goal has been to protect Laamu’s marine habitats and keystone megafauna species through legislation,” said Philippa Roe, MUI’s Head Marine Biologist. “For years, the partners within MUI – Six Senses Laamu, the Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, and the Olive Ridley Project – have been gathering research on Laamu’s marine ecosystems and species, much of which was used as evidence to support marine protection.”