Building on its conservation efforts to protect seagrass meadows in the Maldives, the Six Senses resort in Laamu atoll is planning to introduce a monitoring initiative across the country this year.
Tuesday (1 March) was World Seagrass Day. Launched four years ago in collaboration with the Blue Marine Foundation and 36 other resorts, Six Senses Laamu’s #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign “aimed to raise awareness of the importance of these habitats and to encourage resorts to protect their meadows, using them as an attraction, rather than removing them.”
Alongside the nationwide monitoring initiative, the marine conservation team at Six Senses also plans to expand the campaign by sharing a media and information pack for resorts and organisations to post on social media.
“As a primary producer, seagrasses and the algae that grows on them form the base of a food chain that directly nourishes small grazing animals,” explained Dr Paul York from James Cook University, Australia. “These small creatures further support rays, fish and sharks; it really is a complex network leading all the way up to humans.”
In 2019, the Blue Marine Foundation recorded 141 species of fish in the seagrass meadows of Laamu Atoll. The Six Senses resort is surrounded by more than 100,000 square meters of seagrass, which is home to grazing turtles, sharks, stingrays and varieties of fish. Guests can spot exotic marine life from their villa decks or join resident marine biologists for weekly seagrass snorkels and presentations.
Six Senses Laamu is home to the Maldives Underwater Initiative, an award-winning research and environmental conservation group that consists of staff from the resort and partner NGOs Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and Olive Ridley Project.
Did you know:
- Seagrass meadows store around 15% of all carbon stored in the ocean, despite occupying less than 1% of its area. Current trends show that 30 to 40% of meadows could be lost within the next 90 years.
- Just one hectare of seagrass can produce up to 100,000L of oxygen a day. That’s as much oxygen that a human being consumes in half an year.
- Seagrass meadows can capture and bury carbon up to 40 times faster than tropical forests.
- The number of fish found in a seagrass meadow is up to 20 times greater than the number found in bare sand.
- A study found 141 different fish species in Maldives seagrass meadows, including important commercial species such as grouper, snapper and emperor.
- Seagrass meadows create the perfect nursery ground for juvenile fish. Up to 80% of fish found in Maldives meadows are juveniles, including surgeonfish, snapper, grunts and parrotfish.
- Seagrass meadows are the primary food fource for the green sea turtle, which is now classified as Critically Endangered in the Maldives.
- Seagrass meadows are at the base of the food-chain and create an ecosystem for sea turtles, fish, rays and sharks.