Prizes were awarded to the winners of the Reef Health Check Photo Competition organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Ocean Geographic in association with the Maldives Alliance of Dive Operators to mark the 50th anniversary of tourism last year.
The underwater photography competition with photo shoots of 50 signature dive sites across the Maldives took place from 18 November to 15 December 2022.
A virtual award ceremony was held on 29 January to announce the results. The winners included photos taken at the Fish Head dive site in Alif Alif Atoll, Rangali Madivaru site in Alif Dhaal Atoll, and Fushi Gandu in Laamu Atoll.
Resorts, dive centres, dive schools, and safari boats had been encouraged to register to become official ‘Reef Health Check Centers,’ each of which booked time slots at one of the 50 pre-selected dive sites. Tourists and local divers were also able to compete under an official centre.
The tourism ministry described the photo shoot as “one of the key events of Tourism Golden Year” with telecommunications service provider Dhiraagu as the media partner.
“The objective is to memorialise the unique underwater haven that Maldives has to offer. While this celebration was initially conceptualised to amplify the Golden Jubilee Year, the key intention is for this event to be an annual photo contest that will serve as a yearly health check of the reefs of Maldives and act as a platform for other conservation and sustainability projects in the future,” according to the event’s website.
Competitors were required to submit a portfolio of five pictures for each site, “one wide angle of a reef scene, one close-up of a living coral, one picture of a fish species, and two others of their own choice.” The tourism ministry and the Reef Health Assessment Project retained usage rights of the winning photos for conservation and promotional purposes.