Six Senses Laamu backs campaign to protect seagrass in Maldives

Source: FTN News

The Six Senses Laamu along with Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) has launched the #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign on 1 March in the Maldives.

It has been widely reported that seagrass, considered one of the prime ecosystems of the planet is “deliberately removed so as to maintain the white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters” by the Maldivian tourism industry.

The Head Marine Biologist of MUI, Ms Natasha Prokop said “We’re only just beginning to comprehend the scale of the problem in the Maldives. In a survey of 49 resorts, we found that 50% of those that have seagrass actively remove it – and those are just the ones admitting to it.”

She went on to add that resorts mostly remove their seagrass for aesthetic reasons, ignoring the ecosystem services it provides in favour of potential for the tourism industry.

Earlier Dr. Paul York, a world-renowned expert on seagrass from James Cook University spoke of the adverse effects of removing seagrass at a seminar held at Maldives National University.

“It is deeply concerning that resorts are removing one of the most important ecosystems in our biosphere. Seagrass is a vital food source for the endangered green sea turtles, it supports healthier coral reefs, fights climate change, offers coastal protection and supports commercial fisheries.” Said Dr York.

Meanwhile the General Manager of Six Senses Laamu, Mr Marteyne van Well admits to experiencing the positive outcome of protecting seagrass since the resort itself had pledged to protect it two years back.

The General Manager went on to state that whether it’s watching green sea turtles feed metres from their villas or snorkelling alongside eagle rays, numerous guests have praised them for pledging to help protect our seagrass. He added that this feedback from guests shows that seagrass and tourism can coexist with overwhelming benefits to all parties.

He further commented that the resorts operating in the Maldives must collaborate in order to counter such environmental issues and overcome them.

Dr York was optimistic that the campaign would bring about positive changes as it would set an example for global tourism as well.

The campaign is expected to bring together resorts, international organizations related to tourism and environmental preservation. In addition to this, the initiative would also bring in filmmakers and scientists all working together for the preservation of seagrass in the Maldives.


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