First ever all-Maldivian Reef Check survey

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 14 November 2014

First ever all-Maldivian Reef Check survey MCS Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer, Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, is celebrating today (14th November 2014) as the first all-Maldivian Reef check survey takes place just to the south of the Maldives capital, Male’.

First ever all-Maldivian Reef Check survey MCS Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer, Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, is celebrating today (14th November 2014) as the first all-Maldivian Reef check survey takes place just to the south of the Maldives capital, Male’. After years of visitng the area and training Maldivian divers in Reef Check methods, in collaboration with Biosphere Expeditions, today a survey will take place by local Maldives divers on their own at Velassaru reef. The surveys are being organised by Rafil Mohamed of the Divers Association of Maldives and Shaha Hashim from local NGO Gemana - both of them qualified as a Reef Check Ecodiver Trainers in September 2014 whilst aboard the MV Carpe Diem with Jean-Luc, for the recent Biosphere Expeditions surveys of North Male’ reefs. The Velassaru reef dive will be facilitated by Adam Ashraf from Dive Desk Dive Centre in Male’, and the rest of the team is made up of Ibrahim Shameel from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme along with other Maldivian nationals from different NGOs and the civil society. Dr Solandt says the very pleasing thing about this survey is that it the enthusiasm and drive from MCS and Biosphere Expeditions is absolutely mirrored by the Maldivians. “It’s all very well to say that we’re surveying ourselves from our é’western’ perspective, but Maldivians who actually live and work on or near their reefs can start to build a much more comprehensive programme, undertake surveys more regularly, and deliver a local message to government that current management measures aren’t enough. The beauty of the Reef Check methodology is that it is replicated every year in different parts of the world, producing valuable insights on how reefs are doing over time. The stark truth of the data collected around the Maldives so far is that reefs have very low numbers and sizes of grouper - a very important predatory fish. This is of concern, because local islanders depend on fish, and many predator fish species are important to keep in check some of the animals that damage the reef such as Crown-of-Thorns starfish and Drupella snails - both of which eat corals. Ø

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