The Government of the Maldives, in partnership with the Blue Prosperity Coalition, is launching the first of several ground-breaking scientific expeditions to explore the country’s diverse marine habitats from shallow to deep water.
According to a press release by the president’s office, the data collected will inform policymakers on ways to sustainably manage fisheries and improve ocean health across the archipelago. These expeditions are part of a larger partnership between the Government of the Maldives and the Blue Prosperity Coalition with the goal of sustainably utilizing and protecting ocean resources.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated “71% of Maldivians rely on the ocean for their primary source of income. It’s imperative that we protect the health of our oceans now and for the future. By studying our ocean from shallow reefs to deep waters we are taking a step forward towards effectively understanding and managing our ocean resources”.
Furthermore, Shafiya Naeem, Head of Maldives Marine Research Institute commented “From fisheries to tourism to our way of life, the ocean is a key part of each Maldivian. We are excited that this expedition will build upon existing research being done by the government to explore the sustainable use of the ocean.”
The Government of the Maldives and the Blue Prosperity Coalition signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the 74th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City in September 2019, formalizing a five-year program that will involve local ministries, non-governmental organizations, and marine experts from both the Maldives and abroad.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to work with the Government to better understand the unique ocean ecosystem of the Maldives. Surveying the many reefs across the entire Maldives’ archipelago will help us understand the bigger picture of ocean health and prioritize the areas that need to be protected,” Andrew Estep, Science Manager of the Waitt Institute said.
Members of the coalition include the Waitt Institute, National Geographic Pristine Seas, Nekton, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Through an up-close partnership, the Maldives’ Government and Blue Prosperity Coalition aim to sustainably grow ocean economies and ensure a thriving marine environment for future generations.