Resorts Asked to Help Identify Future Marine Protected Areas
Government-led Noo Raajje program has requested all resorts in the Maldives to take part in the national Ocean Use Survey, the largest effort of its kind to comprehensively understand how people and businesses in the Maldives use and value the country’s seas, lagoons and coral reefs.
The data collected from the survey will inform which parts of the Maldives will be designated as new Marine Protected Areas, as part of President Solih’s pledge to protect at least 20% of Maldivian waters.
Featured Image: The Ocean Use Survey utilizes a digital mapping tool called SeaSketch.
The survey uses a digital mapping tool called SeaSketch, which allows participants to draw shapes around areas of the ocean that they use and identify the purpose for which each area is being used. Responses are summarized by ocean use activity to create detailed maps of high use and high value areas around the country.
Since the project’s launch in December 2021, 23,000 shapes representing the uses of more than 26,000 individuals, organizations, and businesses have been mapped.
Information from the Ocean Use Survey will help determine which areas of the ocean should be protected. Marine Protected Areas increase the health of coral reefs and allow marine species to thrive, attracting tourists interested in diving and snorkeling. Therefore, participating in the Ocean Use Survey could help benefit your resort in future. Participants can complete the survey individually or schedule a session with an Ocean Use Survey facilitator.
To date, only 40 resorts have participated in the survey. Noo Raajje urgently requests all resorts to take the survey so that policymakers have a complete picture of valued tourism spaces throughout the country.
Featured Image: A member of the Noo Raajje team works with resort employees to complete a survey
“We have gotten excellent participation from the general public in the survey on how they use the oceans. However, without significant participation from resorts our data will be incomplete. Understanding how individuals and businesses currently use ocean space will help the government of the Maldives make informed decisions which meet conservation objectives while minimizing impact to livelihoods” says Hulwa Khaleel, Noo Raajje Ocean Use Survey Coordinator.
Featured Image: Sustainable ocean management and marine protection is important for attracting tourists to the Maldives.
“We have been involved in Noo Raajje since the beginning, as we understand that for Maldives’ marine resources to be managed successfully, it’s vital for representatives from all industries to contribute, so that all viewpoints and needs are taken into consideration,” says Phillippa Roe, Head Marine Biologist at Six Senses Laamu.
“It is important for as many organisations as possible to complete Noo Raajje’s Ocean Use Survey, to make sure that the Maldives Government can make informed management decisions that not only protect local marine ecosystems, but work for people too,” she continued. Six Senses Laamu is one of the participants in the survey.
Speaking about the survey itself, Petra Hellman from Brennia Kottefaru and Kihaa Maldives said: “The Ocean Use Survey is easy to fill in and if you do have any questions, their team is very helpful and will assist you with the task. Let us be part of creating sustainable, profitable and enjoyable use of the ocean for present and future generations.”
Learn more about the Ocean Use Survey at www.nooraajje.org/oceanusesurvey
Resorts and individuals who want to take part in this activity can do so until the survey end-date of Nov. 10, 2022.
Please contact Hulwa Khaleel at email@example.com to schedule time with a facilitator.