Maldives Underwater Initiative celebrates marine conservation efforts of 2021

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The Maldives Underwater Initiative, a group of environmental NGOs based in the Six Senses resort in Laamu atoll, has released its annual report for 2021, highlighting key achievements in research, community outreach, guest education and resort sustainability.

Progress made in 2021 toward protecting marine ecosystems in the southern atoll is incomparable to any other year, suggested the Regional General Manager of Six Senses in the Maldives, Marteyne van Well, in her introduction to the report.

“The extensive work the MUI team has conducted in the areas of research, guest education, community outreach and communications, combined with the incredible support and encouragement we continue to receive from stakeholders, partners and guests alike, is allowing us to start making tangible impacts and we are seeing the fruits of our labours,” she said.

A notable success was the designation of Laamu Atoll as a ‘Hope Spot’ by Dr Sylvia Earle and her team at Mission Blue, which was based on years’ worth of data collected by MUI and an extensive application filed by the team. Shortly thereafter, the Maldives government declared six ecologically significant sites in Laamu as the atoll’s first marine protected areas.

The award-winning MUI team consists of marine biologists from the resort as well as staff from three partner NGOs: The Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and The Olive Ridley Project.

Other achievements highlighted in the report:

  • Laamafaru Festival 2021 which brought together 1,865 students to celebrate marine conservation at 8 different festivals
  • 1,191 encounters with manta rays were logged by the Six Senses Laamu Manta Trust researchers.
  • 240 organizations pledged their support to the #SaveOurSharks movement launched by BlueMarine Foundation and Six Senses Laamu.
  • 1,650 green sea turtle hatchlings safely started their lives on Six Senses Laamu’s beaches.
  • 15,096 moments of marine education were shared with guests at the resort
  • 53 colonies of coral were recorded spawning by Six Senses Laamu researchers during a 12-month study of their house reef