Photo Boskalis Hopper Dredger Oranje Busy In The Maldives

MATI backs Maldives’ land reclamation halt to protect reefs amid bleaching

Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) on Sunday announced its full support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent measures to combat the severe mass coral bleaching affecting the region.

The EPA has called for an immediate cessation of all major coastal development projects until June 10, 2024, in an effort to mitigate the environmental crisis.

The suspended activities include land reclamation, dredging, beach nourishment, sand pumping, and the installation of pipelines and cables on reefs, as well as the construction of bund walls. This decision comes in response to the alarming bleaching alert level issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch, which currently stands at “warning,” indicating a significant threat to the coral ecosystems.

“Furthermore, we urge all of our members and all stakeholders of the Tourism Industry to provide full cooperation and adhere to these mitigation measures. We are confident that effective implementation of these measures will undoubtedly aid in lessening the effects of the current mass coral bleaching event, identified by experts as one of the most severe on record,” MATI said in a press release.

The Maldives Marine Research Institute (MMRI) has warned that the situation is likely to worsen in the coming weeks, prompting the EPA to take decisive action. The temporary ban on development activities is part of a broader strategy to reduce stress on the corals, which have been expelling their symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae, due to elevated water temperatures. This process, known as coral bleaching, leaves the corals vulnerable to disease and death, although they can recover if conditions improve.

Hotelier News Desk
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