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Expedition report: Little and large: surveying and safeguarding coral reefs & whale sharks in the Maldives (July 2018)

Authors:
  • Marine Conservation Society
  • Biosphere Expeditions

Abstract and Figures

Abstract In 2018 Biosphere Expeditions ran its eighth annual Reef Check survey expedition to the Maldives since 2011. One week of surveys was carried out in July 2018 by local and international citizen scientists and a professional reef biologist in Ari atoll, the Maldives. Surveys using the Reef Check methodology were undertaken at three ‘inner’ and three ‘outer’ atoll sites and concentrated on re-visiting permanent monitoring sites that have been surveyed since 2011. Most of the locations surveyed in 2016 and 2017 were revisited to record medium-term impacts of the severe El Niño bleaching event in May 2016. Coral cover for all North Ari sites varied between 39% and 0% with a mean of 15% live hard coral cover. Inner Ari atoll reefs (mean 2% cover) were found to be more severely bleached than the outer reef sites (mean 27%). This mirrors last year’s data. Some inner reefs (e.g. Kudafalhu), which had been affected by coral-damaging storms in 2015, and by crown-of-thorns and bleaching in 2016, had extremely low coral cover (under 1%). A further inner reef site that was newly surveyed (Theluveligaa), had zero coral cover, with the habitat dominated by Padina commersonii (macroalgae) overgrowing branching corals, and even colonising sandflats in the inner lagoon of the site. There were few large grouper and snapper present at all sites. The outer reefs, where many Porites and other massive colonies persist, appear to show higher survival (resistance) and recruitment/recovery patterns (resilience) to bleaching. Recruitment of juvenile corals (<10 cm in diameter) appears to be occurring at the shallowest depths, on dead table corals, in inner sheltered reefs and also on reef flats, dominated by anastomosed dead table corals, where coralline algae has already solidified the dead coral matrix. Recruitment of year 1 (<10 cm), and year 2 (<20 cm) corals appears to be higher on outer reefs facing deep water (such as at Dhigurah). These reefs are adjacent to oceanic waters and have substrata clear of turf and blue-green algae at shallower depths (>3 m). Low parrotfish and surgeonfish densities and grazing at Kudafalhu and Thulivadelu indicate that the algal complex may now be too advanced (macrophytes with secondary metabolites and structural resistance to grazing) to be preferentially grazed by herbivorous fish. A corallimorph-dominated benthos remains at Dega Thila, which will be unlikely to recover to the rich coral community that persisted in shallow waters before 2016. Our surveys indicate bleaching-resistance in the Porites-dominated forereefs adjacent to deep water outer reef sites. By contrast, we see limited opportunity for coral recovery on the very shallowest inner reef flats (<3 m depth), due to the heavy presence of corallimorphs, sponges, turfs and macroalgae. A half-day effort-based whale shark survey was also carried out at the outer reef of South Ari Marine Protected Area on 26 July 2018. At 11:50 (after a 2.5 hour transect of Dhigurah reef), a 3.5 m male shark was observed in approximately 15 m of water, rising to the surface. The encounter lasted approximately four minutes. This animal had first been identified and recorded by the local Whale Shark Research Programme on 20 January 2018 through gill area analysis. Currently the coral reefs of the Maldives are being ‘loved to death’ by foreign investment and tourism and short-sighted exploitative, anti-environmental and anti-social practices of the past government. The recent change in government (September 2018), preceded by the outgoing administration’s announcement of three new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has provided hope that the environment may be considered in future planning decisions. We hope that the creation (in particular) of the Rasdhoo Madivaru MPA, where fish and coral health have been monitored for over a decade, will precipitate protection measures so that reefs, and with it the health of the nation as a whole, can start to recover. The dire situation of the past can improve, but only if the new administration delivers some of the profits (largely from tourism) into public services and proper environmental protection and thus safeguards the resources that generated these profits in the first place. އެބްސްޓްރެކްޓ ަޔޮސްފިއަރ އެކްސްޕެޑިޝަންސްގެ ފަރާތުން 2011ވަނަ އަހަރުން ފެށިގެން ރާއްޖޭގައި ކުރިއަށް ގެންދާ އަހަރީ ރީފްޗެކް ސާރވޭތަކުގެ8 ވަނަ ސާރވޭ އެކްސްޕެޑިޝަން 2018 ވަނައަހަރު ވަނީ ކުރިއަށް ގެންގޮސްފައެވެ. ދިވެހި އަދި ބޭރު ސިޓިޒަން ސައިންޓިސްޓުން އަދި ރީޕް ބަޔޮލޮޖިސްޓްއެއް ގުޅިގެން އަރިއަތޮޅުގައި މިމަސައްކަތްވަނީ 01 ހަފްތާގެ މުއްދަތަކަށް ކުރިއަށްގެންދެވިފައެވެ. މިސާރވޭތައް ކުރިއަށް ގެންދެވިފައިވަނީ އަތޮޅުގެ އެތެރެވަރީގެ 3 ސަރަހައްދެއްގައާއި، އަތޮޅު ބޭރުން 3 ސަރަޙައްދެގައެވެ. ރީފް ޗެކް މެތޮޑޮލޮޖީ ބޭނުންކުރެވިގެން ކުރެވުނު ދިރާސާތައް ކުރެވިފައިވަނީ 2011 އިން ފެށިގެން ދިރާސާކުރެވެމުން އަންނަ ސަރަޙައްދުތަކުގައެވެ. 2016 ވަނައަހަރު އެލް ނީނޯގެ ސަބަބުން ދިމާވި ގާހުދުވުމުގެ ހާދިސާގެ މިހާރުގެ ހާލަތު ދެނެގަތުމުގެ ގޮތުން 2016 އަދި 2017 ވަނަ އަހަރު ދިރާސާކުރެވުނު ގިނަ ސަރަޙައްދުތައް 2018 ވަނައަހަރުވެސް ދިރާސާކުރެވުނެވެ. އަރި އަތޮޅު އުތުރުބުރީގައި ދިރާސާކުރެވުނު ސަރަޙައްދުތަކުގައި ދިރޭ މުރަކައިގެ އިންސައްތަ އުޅެނީ %0 އާއި %39 (އެވްރެޖްކޮށް %15) އާއި ދެމެދުއެވެ. މިގޮތުން އަތޮޅުބޭރުން ދިރާސާ ކުރެވުނު ސަރަޙައްދުތަކަށްވުރެ (ދިރޭމުރަކައިގެ އެވްރެޖް: %27) އެތެރެވަރީގައި ދިރާސާ ކުރެވުނު ސަރަޙައްދުތަކުގައި (ދިރޭމުރަކައިގެ އެވްރެޖް: %2) ގާހުދުވުމުގެ މައްސަލަ ބޮޑުކަމަށް ފާހަގަ ކުރެވުނެވެ. މިއީ މިދިޔަ އަހަރުގެ ދިރާސާގެ ނަތީޖާއާ ދާދި އެއްގޮތް ނަތީޖާއެކެވެ. އެތެރެވަރީގެ ފަރުތަކުގެ ތެރެއިން މީގެ ކުރިން ގާހުދުމުވުމުގެ ސަބަބުންނާއި، ކަށިބޯ އާލާވުމުގެ ސަބަބުން އަދި މޫސުމްގޯސް ދުވަސްވަރު އަސަރުކޮށްފައިވާ ފަރުތަކުގައި (މިސާލަކަށް ކުޑަފަޅު) ދިރޭ މުރަކައިގެ މިންވަރު ވަރަށް ދަށްކަމަށް ފެނުނެވެ (%1 އަށްވުރެ ދަށް). މީގެ އިތުރުން މިފަހަރު އަލަށް ދިރާސާކުރެވުނު ސަރަޙައްދެއްކަމުގައިވާ ތެލުވެލިގާގައި ދިރޭމުރަކަ އެއްވެސްވަރަކަށް ނެތްކަން ފާހަގަ ކުރެވުނެވެ. އެސަރަޙައްދުގައިވަނީ މެކްރޯ އެލްގޭގެ ބާވަތެއްކަމުގައިވާ "ޕަޑީނާ ކޮމަރސޮނީ" އާލާވެ އެސަރަޙައްދުގައި މަރުވެފައިވާ މުރަކަތައް މަތީ އަދި ފަރުެތެރެވަރީގައިވާ ތިލަފަޅުތައް މަތީގައި އެކީ ފެހިޖަހާފައެވެ. ދިރާސާކުރެވުނު ހުރިހާ ސަރަޙައްދުތަކަކުންވެސް ބޮޑު ސައިޒްގެ ފާނަ އަދި ރަތްމަސް އާއިލާގެ ބާވަތްތައް ފެނުނީ މަދު ޢަދަދަކަށެވެ. "ޕޮރައިޓީޒް" ފަދަ ބޮޑެތި ގަލުގެ ބާވަތްތައް އުފެދިފައިވާ ފަރުތަކަށް ގާހުދުވުމުގެ އަސަރުކޮށްފައިވާ މިންވަރު ކުޑަކަމަށާއި އަލުން އާލާވާމިންވަރު ބޮޑުކަމަށް ފާހަގަ ކުރެވުނެވެ. އެތެރެވަރީގައި ތިލަ ހިސާބުތަކުގައި ހިމާޔަތްލިބިފައިވާ، ފަރުތަކުގައި މަރުވެފައިވާ ހަތާ މަތީގައި ކުދިމުރަކަ (10ސމ. އަށްވުރެ ކުދި ޑައަމީޓަރގެ) އަލުން އާލާވާކަން ފާހަގަ ކުރެވެއެވެ. މީގެ އިތުރުން ޓޭބަލް ކޮރަލްސް މަރުވެފައިވާ ސަރަޙައްދުތަކުގައި ކޮރަލައިން އެލްގޭ ހެދިފައިވާ ރީފް ފްލެޓެތައް މަތީގައިވެސް މުރަކަ އާލާވާކަން ފާހަގަ ކުރެވުނެވެ. ދިގުރަށް ފަދަ ބޭރުފަރުތަކުގައި އަތޮޅުގެ ބޭރަށްވާގޮތަށް ހުރި ފަރުތަކުގައި 1 އަހަރުގެ (10ސމ.) އަދި 2 އަހަރުގެ (20ސމ.) ގެ މުރަކާ އާލާވާމިންވަރު މަތިކަމަށް ފެނެއެވެ. މިފަރުތަކަކީ ބޭރުކަނޑަށްވާގޮތަށް އޮންނަ ފަރުތަކަކަށްވާތީ، އެސަރަހައްދުގައި 3މ. އަށްވުރެ ފުންހިސާބުތަކުގައި އެލްގޭގެ ބާވަތްތައް .މަދެވެ ކުޑަފަޅު އަދި ތުލިވަޑެލުއިން ފެނުނު ލަނޑާ އަދި ކަނޑުކާޅުގެ ވައްތަރުތައް ފެނުނު މިންވަރު މަދުކަމުން ދޭހަވަނީ އެސަރަހައްދުތަކުގައި މިހާރު އުފެދިފައިވާ އެލްގަލް ކޮމްޕްލެކްސް ވަނީ މިބާވަތްތަކުގެ މަސް ކާބާވަތްތަކުގެ ފެހީގެ ވައްތަރުތަކަށްވުރެ ތަރައްޤީވެފައިވާ ބާވަތްތަކެއްގެ މައްޗަށް ބިނާވެފަކަމެވެ. ޑެގަތިލައިން އަދިވެސް ފެންނަނީ ކޮރަލިމޯރފްގެ ވައްތަރުތަކުގެ މައްޗަށް ބިނާވެފައިވާ ސަރަހައްދެކެވެ. މިސަރަޙައްދުގައި 2016ގެ ކުރިން އޮތް ފަރުގެ މުއްސަނދިކަން އަލުން ޢިއާދަވާނެކަމާއިމެދު ޝައްކެވެ. މިދިރާސާތަކުން ދައްކާގޮތުގައި ފުންކަނޑާއިވިދިގެންވާ ޕޮރައިޓީސް (ހިރި) އާއިލާގެ މުރަކައިގެ ބާވަތްތައް ގިނަ ބޭރުފަރުތަށް ގާހުދުވުމުގެ ބަލިން ރައްކާތެރިވުމުގެ ބާރު މާގަދައެވެ. މިއާ ޚިލާފަށް އަތޮޅުތެރޭ ތިލަ ފަޅުތަކުގައި (3މ. އަށްވުރެ ތިލަ) ގާހުދުވުމުގެބަލިން ރައްކާތެރިވުމުގެ ބާރު މާދަށެވެ. އެއީ މިސަރަޙައްދުތަކުގައި މެކްރޯއެލްގޭ، ކޮރަލިމޯރފްސް އަދި ސްޕޮންޖްގެ ބާވަތްތައް ގިނަވުމުންނެވެ. މީގެ އިތުރުން 26 ޖުލައި 2018ގައި، "ސައުތު އަރި މެރިން ޕްރޮޓެކްޓަޑް އޭރިއާ" އިން ފެހުރިހި ފެންނަ މިންވަރު ބެލުމުގެ ގޮތުން ބައިދުވަހުގެ އެފަރޓް-ބޭސްޑް ދިރާސާއެއްވެސް ކުރެވުނެވެ. މިދިރާސާއިން 3.5މ ގެ ފިރިހެން 01 ފެހުރިހި، ގާތްގަނޑަކަށް 15މ ފުންމިނުން މައްޗަށް އަރަނިކޮށް ފެނުނެވެ. މިފެހުރިހި ފެނުނީ ދިގުރަށު ފަރުގައި ގާތްގަނޑަކަށް 2.5 ގަޑިއިރު ދިރާސާކުރުމަށްފަހު ގަޑިން 11:50 ގައެވެ.. މިފެހުރިހި ފެނުނީ ގާތްގަޑަކަށް 4 މިނިޓްގެ ވަގުތުކޮޅަކަށެވެ. މިފަހަރު ފެނުނު ފެހުރިހި ފުރަތަމަ ފަހަރަށް ފެނިިފައިވަނީ 20 ޖެނުއަރީ 2018 ގައި އެސަރަަޙައްދުގައި ދިރަސާކުރާ "ވޭލްޝާރކް ރިިސާރޗް ޕްރޮގްރާމް" ގެ ދިރާސާ ދަތުރެއްގައެވެ. މިދުވަސްވަރު ރާއްޖެއިން ފެނިގެންދަނީ ބޭރުގެ ވަރަށް ގިނަ ފަރާތްތަކުން އިންވެސްޓްކުރާ މަންޒަރާއި، ކުރީ ސަރުކާރުގެ ފަރާތުން ނިންމާފައިވާ ތިމާވެއްޓަށް ގެއްލުންވާފަދަ، އަދި އިޖްތިމާއި ނޭދެވޭ އަސަރުތައްކޮށްފާނާ ބައެއް ނިންމުންތަކުގެ ނަތީޖާއެވެ. އެހެންނަމަވެސް ދާދިފަހުން ސަރުކާރު ބަދަލުވުމުގެ ސަބަބުންނާއި، ކުރީގެ ސަރުކާރުގެ ދައުރު ހަމަވުމާއި ގާތްވެފައިވަނިކޮށް ޢިއުލާންކޮށްފައިވާ 3 މެރިން ޕްރޮޓެކްޓަޑް އޭރިއާގެ ސަބަބުން، ކުރިއަށް އޮތްތާގައި މިފަދަ ކަންތައް ރޭވިގެންދާއިރު ތިމާވެއްޓާއިމެދު ވިސްނައިގެން ރާވާނޭކަމުގެ އުއްމީދު އާވެގެންދެއެވެ. އަޅުގަނޑުމެންގެ އުއްމީދަކީ މެރިން ޕްރޮޓެކްޓަޑް އޭރިއާސް ހެދުމުގެ ސަބަބުން، ޙާއްސަކޮށް ރީފްޗެކްގެ ފަރާތުންނާއި ސަރުކާރުގެ ކަމާބެހޭފަރާތްތަކުން ދިރާސާކުރަމުން ގެންދާ ރަސްދޫ މަޑިވަރުގައި މިފަދަ އޭރިއާއެއް ހެދުމުގެ ސަބަބުން، ފަރުތަކާއި އަދި މުޅި ޖުމްލަކޮށް މުޅި ޤައުމުގެ ހާލަތުގެ ރަގަޅުވާން ފަށާނެކަމެވެ. ކުރީގައި ކަންތައް ހިނގާފައިހުރި ގޮތުން ތިމާވެއްޓަށް ކުރިމަތިވެފައިވާ ނާޒުކު ހާލަތު ރަގަޅުވުން އެކަށީގެންވެއެެވެ. އެކަމު މިކަން ހާސިލް ވާނީ އާސަރުކާރުގެ ފަރާތުން، ގައުމުގެ މާލިއްޔަތަށް ލިބޭ ފައިދާ (ހާއްސަކޮށް ފަތުރުވެރިކަމުގެ ސަބަބުން) ތިމާވެށި ހިމާޔަތްކުރުމަށާއި މުޖްތަމަޢުގެ އެކި ކަންތަކަށް ކަނޑައެޅި ބޭނުންކުރެވިގެންނެވެ.
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EXPEDITION
REPORT
Expedition dates:
21
-
27 July 20
18
Report published:
August
Little and large:
surveying and safeguarding
coral reefs & whale sharks in the Maldives
1
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
EXPEDITION REPORT
Little and large: surveying and safeguarding
coral reefs & whale sharks in the Maldives
Expedition dates:
21
-
27
July
201
8
Report published:
August
201
9
Authors:
Jean
-
Luc Solandt
Marine Co
nservation Society &
Reef Check
Co
-
ordinator Maldives
Matthias Hammer
(editor)
Biosphere Expeditions
2
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Abstract
In 2018 Biosphere Expeditions ran its
eigh
th
annual Reef Check survey expedition to the Maldives
since 2011. One week
of surveys was carrie
d out in July 2018
by
local and international citizen
scientists and a professional reef biologist
in Ari
atoll,
the
Maldives.
Surveys using the Reef Check
methodology
were undertaken at three ‘inner’ and three ‘outer’ atoll sites and
concentrated on re
-
vi
siting permanent monitoring sites that have been surveyed since 2011.
M
ost of the locations surveyed
in 2016 and 2017
were revisited
to
record
medium
-
term impacts of
the
severe
El Ni
ñ
o
bleaching
event
in May 2016.
Coral cover for all North Ari sites
v
arie
d between 39%
and
0% with a mean of
15
%
live hard coral
cover. Inner Ari atoll reefs (mean
2
% cover)
were found to be
more severely
bleached
than the outer
reef sites (mean
27
%). This mirrors last year
s data. Some inner re
efs (e.g. Kudafalhu), which had
b
een
affected by cor
al
-
damaging storms in 2015,
and by
crown
-
of
-
thorns
and bleaching in 2016, had
extremely low coral cover (under 1%). A further inner reef site that was newly surveyed
(Theluveligaa)
,
had zero coral
cover
, with the habitat dominated by
Pad
ina commersonii
(macroalgae)
overgrowing
branching corals, and even colonising sandflats in the inner lagoon of the site.
There were few large grouper and snapper present at all sites. The outer reefs
, where many
Porites
and other massive colonies persis
t, appear to show higher
survival (resistance) and
recruitment/recovery pattern
s
(resilience) to bleaching. Recruitment of juvenile corals (<10
cm in
diameter) appears to be occu
rring at the shallowest depths,
on dead table c
orals,
in inner sheltered
reefs
and
also
on
reef flats
, dominated by anastomosed dead table corals
,
where coralline algae
has
already
solidified the dead coral matrix. Recruitment of y
ea
r 1 (<10
cm), and y
(<20
cm) corals
appears to be higher on
outer reefs facing
deep
water
(such
as at Dhigurah). These reefs ar
e adjacent
to oceanic waters
and
have substrata clear of turf and blue
-
green algae at
shallower
depths
(>3
m).
Low parrotfish and surgeonfish
densities and grazing at Kudafalhu and Thulivadelu indicate that the
algal comple
x
may
now
be
too advanced (macrophytes with secondary metabolites and structural
resistance to grazing) to be preferentially grazed by herbivorous fish. A corallimorph
-
dominated
benthos remains
at Dega T
hila,
which
will
be unlikely to
recover to the rich
coral community that
persisted in shallow waters before 2016.
Our
surveys
indicate
bleaching
-
resistance in the
Porites
-
do
min
ated forereefs adjacent to deep
water
outer reef
sites. By contrast, we see
limited opportunity for
coral
recovery on the very sha
llowest
inner
reef flats (<
3
m depth)
,
due to the heavy
presence
of corallimorphs, sponges, turfs and macroalgae
.
A half
-
day effort
-
based whale shark survey was also carried out at the outer reef of South Ari Marine
Protected Area on 26 July 2018.
At 11
:50 (after a 2.5 hour transect of Dhigurah reef), a 3.5
m male
shark was observed in approximately 15 m of water, rising to the surface. The encounter lasted
approximately four minutes. This animal had first been
identified and
recorded by the local Whale
Shark
Research Programme on 20 January 2018
through gill area analysis
.
Currently
the
coral reefs of the
Maldives are being ‘loved to death’ by foreign investment and tourism
and short
-
sighted explo
itative, anti
-
environmental and anti
-
social
practices o
f the past government. The
r
ecent change in government (September 2018),
preceded
by the outgoing administration
s
announcement of three new
Marine Protected Areas (
MPAs
)
has provided hope that the environment
may be considered in future planning decisions
. We hope that the creation (in particular) of
t
he
Rasdhoo Madivaru
MPA
,
where
fish and coral health
have been monitored
for over a decade
,
will
precipitate protection measures so
that reefs, and with it the health of the nation as a whole, can start to
re
cover. The dire situation of the past can improve, but only if the new administration delivers some of
the profits (largely from tourism) into public services and
proper environmental protection and thus
safeguards the resources that generated these profit
s in the first place
.
3
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
ޓކރޓސބއ
ް ެ ް ް ް ެ
ނތރފ ގސނޝޑޕސކއ ރއފސޔ◌
ް ު ާ ަ ެ ް ް ަ ެ ް ް ެ ަ ް ޮ
ި ި
ަ
2011
ގކތވރސ ކޗފރ ރހއ ދނގ ށއރކ އގޖއރ ނގށފ ނރހއ ނވ
ެ ު ަ ޭ ާ ް ެ ް ަ ަ ާ ް ެ ް ަ ު ަ ޭ ް ާ ް ެ ެ ް ު ަ ަ ަ ަ
ީ ީ ި ި ި
8
ވރސ ނވ
ޭ ާ ަ ަ
ނޝޑޕސކއ
ް ަ ެ ް ް ެ
ި
2018
ވއފސގނގ ށއރކ ނވ ރހއނވ
ެ ެ ަ ް ޮ ް ެ ް ަ ު ަ ު ަ ަ ަ ަ
ި ީ
.
ޒޓސ ރބ ދއ ހވދ
ަ ު ޭ ަ ެ
ި
ި ި
ި ި
އގޅތއރއ ނގޅގ އއޓސޖލޔބ ޕރ ދއ ނޓސޓނއސ ނ
ި ި ި ީ ި
ަ ު ޮ ަ ަ ް ެ ު ް ެ ް ް ޮ ޮ ަ ް ަ ް ު ް ް ަ ް
ި ި
ި
ނވތކއސމމ
ީ ި
ަ ް ަ ް ަ ަ
01
ވއފވދނގށއރކ ށކތދއމ ގތފހ
ެ ެ ަ ެ ް ެ ް ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ް ު ެ ާ ް ަ
ި ި
.
ގރވރތއ ގޅތއ ނވއފވދނގ ށއރކ އތވރސމ
ެ ަ ެ ެ ެ ެ ު ޮ ަ ަ ަ ެ ް ެ ް ަ ު ް ަ ޭ ާ
ީ ީ ި ި ި ި
3
ނރބ ޅތއ ،އއގއދއހރސ
ް ު ޭ ު ޮ ަ ާ ަ ް ެ ް ަ ަ ަ
ި
3
ވއގދއޙރސ
ެ ެ ަ ެ ް ަ ަ ަ
.
ފރ
ް
ީ
ނވއފވރކ އތސރދ ނވރކ ނގވރކނނބ ޖލޑތމ ކޗ
ީ ި ި ި
ަ ަ ެ ު ް ަ ާ ާ ު ު ެ ު ް ެ ެ ު ް ު ޭ ޮ ޮ ޮ ެ ް ެ
ި
ީ
2011
ވއގކތދއޙރސ ނނއ ނމވރކސރދ ނގށފ ނއ
ެ ެ ަ ު ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ަ ް ަ ް ު ެ ެ ު ާ ާ ް ެ ެ ް
ި
ި ި
.
2016
ނތގ ގމތގނދ ތލހ ގރހމ ގސދހ ގމވދހގ ވމދ ނބބސ ގނނ ލއ ރހއނވ
ް ު ޮ ެ ު ު ަ ެ ެ ު ަ ާ ެ ު ާ ެ ާ ާ ެ ު ު ު ު ާ ާ ް ު ަ ަ ެ ޯ ް ެ ު ަ ަ ަ ަ
ި ި ީ
ި ި
2016
ދއ
ި
ަ
2017
ނވ
ަ ަ
އތދއޙރސ ނގ ނވރކސރދ ރހއ
ް ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ަ ު ު ެ ު ާ ާ ު ަ ަ
ި ި
2018
ވނވރކސރދ ސވރހއނވ
ެ ެ ު ެ ު ާ ާ ް ެ ު ަ ަ ަ ަ
ި
.
ނޅއ ތއސނއ ގއކރމ ރދ އގކތދއޙރސ ނވރކސރދ އގރބރތއ ޅތއ ރއ
ީ ި ި ި ި ީ ި
ެ ު ަ ް ަ ް ެ ަ ަ ު ޭ ަ ު ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ު ު ެ ު ާ ާ ަ ު ު ު ު ު ޮ ަ ަ
ި ި
%
0
އއ
ި
ާ
%
39
)
ށކޖރވއ
ް ޮ ް ެ ް ެ
%
15
(
ވއދމދ އއ
ެ ެ ު ެ ެ ާ
ި
.
ރކ ސރދ ނރބޅތއ ނތގމ
ެ ު ާ ާ ް ު ޭ ު ޮ ަ ް ު ޮ
ި
ި
ރވށކތދއޙރސ ނވ
ެ ު ް ަ ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ު ު
)
ޖރވއ ގއކރމރދ
ް ެ ް ެ ެ ަ ަ ު ޭ
ި
ި
% :
27
(
އގކތދއޙރސ ނވރކ ސރދ އގރވރތއ
ި ި ީ
ަ ު ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ު ު ެ ު ާ ާ ަ ަ ެ ެ ެ
ި
)
ގއކރމރދ
ެ ަ ަ ު ޭ
ި
ި
ޖރވއ
ް ެ ް ެ
% :
2
(
ވނވރކ ގހފ ށމކޑބ ލސއމ ގމވދހގ
ެ ެ ު ެ ު ަ ަ ާ ް ަ ަ ު ޮ ަ ަ ް ަ ެ ު ު ު ު ާ
.
ވކއޖތނ ތގއއ ދދ އޖތނ ގސރދ ގރހއ ޔދމ އމ
ެ ެ ެ ާ ަ ް ޮ ް ެ ާ ާ ާ ަ ެ ާ ާ ެ ު ަ ަ ަ
ީ ި ީ ި ި
ި ީ ި
.
ގމ ނއރތ ގކތރފ ގރވރތއ
ެ ް ެ ެ ެ ު ަ ު ަ ެ ަ ެ ެ ެ
ީ ި ީ
އގކތރފ ވއފށކރސއ ރވސވދ ސގމސމ ދއ ނބބސ ގމވލއ ބށކ ،އނނބބސ ގމވމދހގ ނރކ
ި ި ި ި ި
ަ ު ަ ު ަ ާ ަ ް ޮ ު ަ ަ ު ަ ް ަ ު ް ޯ ް ު ޫ ަ ް ު ަ ަ ެ ު ު ާ ާ ޯ ަ ާ ް ު ަ ަ ެ ު ު ު ު ު ާ ް ު
ި
)
ޅފޑކ ށކލސމ
ު ަ ަ ު ް ަ ަ ާ
ި
(
ގއކރމ ރދ
ެ ަ ަ ު ޭ
ި
ި
ވނނފ ށމކށދ ށރވ ރވނމ
ެ ެ ު ެ ް ަ ަ ް ަ ް ަ ަ ު ަ ް
ި
%)
1
ށދ ރވށއ
ް ަ ެ ު ް ަ
.(
ގމ
ެ
ީ
ށކރވސވއއ ކރމރދ އގގލވލތ ވއގމކއދއޙރސ ނވރކސރދ ށލއ ރހފމ ނރތއ
ް ަ ަ ަ ް ެ ް ެ ަ ަ ު ޭ ަ ާ ެ ު ެ ާ ަ ު ަ ް ެ ް ަ ަ ަ ު ު ެ ު ާ ާ ް ަ ަ ު ަ ަ ް ު ު
ި ި
ި ި ި ި ި
ވނވރކ ގހފ ނކތނ
ެ ެ ު ެ ު ަ ަ ާ ް ަ ް ެ
.
ވއގމކއތވބ ގގލއ ރކމ ނވއގދއޙރސއ
ާ ަ ު ަ ް ެ ަ ާ ެ ޭ ް ެ ޯ ް ެ ަ ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ެ
ި ީ ި
"
ނސރމކ ނޑ ޕ
ީ
ޮ ަ ޮ ާ ަ
ީ
"
ތކރމ ވއފވރމ އގދއޙރސއ ވލއ
ަ ަ ަ ު ާ ަ ެ ު ަ ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ެ ެ ާ ާ
ި ި
ދއ ތމ އ
ި ީ
ަ ަ ް
ވއފހޖހފ ކއ އގތމ އތޅފލތ ވއގރވރތ◌ރފ
ެ ެ ަ ާ ަ ެ ެ ަ ަ ް ަ ު ަ ަ ާ ަ ަ ެ ެ ު ަ
ި ީ ި ި ީ
ީ ި
ެ
.
ވށކދދޢ ދމ ނނފ އތތވބ ގލއއ ސމތރ ދއ ނފ ގޒއސ ޑބ ސވނކކތދއޙރސ ހރހ ނވރކސރދ
ެ ެ ަ ަ ަ ަ ު ަ ު ެ ް ަ ް ަ ާ ެ ާ ާ ް ަ ް ަ ަ ަ ާ ެ ް ަ ު ޮ ް ެ ް ު ަ ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ާ ު ު ު ެ ު ާ ާ
ީ ި ި ި
ި ި
" .
ޒޓއރޕ
ް ަ ޮ
ީ
ި
"
ތޑބ ދފ
ި
ެ ޮ ަ ަ
ވއފދފއ އތތވބ ގލގ
ާ ަ ެ ު ް ަ ް ަ ާ ެ ު ަ
ި
ި
ވނވރކ ގހފ ށމކޑބ ރވނމވލއ ނލއ އށމކޑކ ރވނމ ވއފށކރސއ ގމވދހގ ށކތރފ
ެ ެ ު ެ ު ަ ަ ާ ް ަ ަ ު ޮ ު ަ ް ާ ާ ާ ް ު ަ ާ ަ ަ ަ ު ު ަ ް ާ ަ ް ޮ ު ަ ަ ެ ު ު ު ު ާ ް ަ ަ ު ަ
ި ި ި ި
.
ލތ އގރވރތއ
ަ ަ ަ ެ ެ ެ
ި
ި ީ
ވއފވރމ އގކތރފ ،ވއފބލތޔމހ އގކތބސހ
ާ ަ ެ ު ަ ަ ު ަ ު ަ ާ ަ ް ަ ާ ަ ު ަ ު ާ
ި ި ި ި ި ި ި ި
ތހ
ާ ަ
ތމ
ީ
ަ
އގ
ި
ަ
ދކ
ި
ު
ކރމ
ަ ަ ު
)
10
މސ
.
ކ ރވށއ
ު ެ ު ް ަ
ދ
ި
ގރޓމއޑ
ެ ަ ަ ަ
ީ
(
ވއވރކ ގހފ ނކވލއ ނލއ
ެ ެ ެ ެ ު ަ ަ ާ ް ަ ާ ާ ާ ް ު ަ
.
ނރތއ ގމ
ް ު ު ެ
ި ީ
އފދހ ގލއ ނއލރކ އގކތދއޙރސ ވއފވރމ ސލރކ ލބޓ
ި ި ި ި
ަ ެ ޭ ް ެ ް ަ ަ ޮ ަ ު ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ާ ަ ެ ު ަ ް ް ަ ޮ ް ަ ޭ
ި
ވ
ާ
ވނވރކ ގހފ ނކވލއ ކރމ ސވއގތމ އތޓލފ ފރ
ެ ެ ު ެ ު ަ ަ ާ ް ަ ާ ާ ާ ަ ަ ު ް ެ ަ ަ ް ަ ެ ެ ް ް
ި ީ
ީ
.
އގކތރފރބ ދފ ށރގދ
ި
ަ ު ަ ު ަ ު ޭ ަ ަ ް ަ ު
ި
ފ ރހ ށތގވށރބ ގޅތއ
ަ ު ް ަ ޮ ާ ް ަ ޭ ެ ު ޮ ަ
ި
އގކތރ
ި
ަ ު ަ ު
1
ގރހއ
ެ ު ަ ަ
)
10
މސ
(.
ދއ
ި
ަ
2
ގރހއ
ެ ު ަ ަ
)
20
މސ
(.
ވއނފ ށމކތމ ރވނމވލއ ކރމ ގ
ެ ެ ެ ެ ް ަ ަ ަ ު ަ ް ާ ާ ާ ާ ަ ު ެ
ި
ި
.
ކކތރފމ
ީ ި
ަ ަ ު ަ
އގދއހރސއ ،ތވށކކތރފ ނނއ ށތގވށޑނކރބ
ި
ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ެ ާ ް ަ ަ ަ ު ަ ަ ް ޮ ް ަ ޮ ާ ް ަ ަ ު ޭ
ީ
3
މ
.
އތތވބ ގގލއ އގކތބސހނފ ރވށއ
ް ަ ް ަ ާ ެ ޭ ް ެ ަ ު ަ ު ާ ް ު ެ ު ް ަ
ި ި
ވދމ
ެ ެ ަ
.
ޑވލތ ދއ ޅފޑކ
ެ ަ ު ަ ު ަ ަ ު
ި
ި
ދއ ޑ ނލ ނނފ ނއލ
ި
ަ ާ ަ ު ު ެ ް ު
ި
ޑނކ
ު ަ
ލގލއ ވއފދފއ ރހމ އގކތދއހރސއ ނވހދ ނމކދމ ރވނމ ނނފ އތރތއވ ގޅކ
ް ަ ް ެ ާ ަ ެ ު ު ާ ަ ު ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ެ ަ ަ ޭ ް ު ަ ު ަ ު ަ ް ު ު ެ ް ަ ު ަ ް ަ ެ ު ާ
ި ި ި ީ ި
ި
ށޗއމ ގއކތތވބ ވއފވޤއރތ ރވށކތރތއވ ގހފ ގކތތވބކ ސމ ގކތތވބމ ނވ ސކލޕމކ
ް ަ ް ަ ެ ް ެ ަ ް ަ ާ ާ ަ ެ ް ަ ަ ެ ު ް ަ ަ ު ަ ް ަ ެ ެ ެ ު ަ ް ަ ާ ާ ް ަ ެ ު ަ ް ަ ާ ަ ް ް ެ ް ް ޮ
ި ީ ި ީ
ީ
ވމކފވނބ
ެ ެ ަ ަ ެ ާ
ި
.
ނނނފ ސވދއ ނއލތގޑ
ީ ި
ަ ް ެ ް ެ ަ ް ަ ަ ެ
ި ި
ވކދއހރސ ވއފވނބ ށޗއމ ގކތރތއވ ގފރމލރކ
ެ ެ ެ ް ަ ަ ަ ާ ަ ެ ާ ް ަ ް ަ ެ ު ަ ު ަ ް ަ ެ ް ޯ ަ ޮ
ި ި ި
.
އގދއޙރސމ
ި ި
ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ
2016
ވކއޝ ދމއމކނވދއޢ ނލއ ނކދނސއމ ގރފ ތއ ނރކ ގ
ެ ެ ް ަ ު ެ ާ ަ ެ ާ ަ ާ ް ު ަ ް ަ ަ ް ު ެ ު ަ ް ޮ ް ު ެ
ި ި
ި ި
.
ދވއޑނކނފ އގތގކއދ ނކތސރދމ
ި ި
ި ި ި ި
ާ ަ ް ު ަ ު ޮ ާ ް ަ ް ު ަ ާ ާ
ސޓއރޕ ވނގ
ް ަ ޮ ާ ް ެ
ީ
ި
)
ރހ
ި ި
(
ގމވރތކއރ ނލބ ގމވދހގ ށތރފރބ ނގ އތތވބ ގއކރމ ގލއއ
ެ ު ު ެ ާ ް ަ ް ަ ެ ު ު ު ު ާ ް ަ ު ަ ު ޭ ަ ް ަ ް ަ ާ ެ ަ ަ ު ެ ާ ާ
ި ި ި ި
ި
ވއދގމ ރބ
ެ ެ ަ ަ ާ ު ާ
.
އގކތޅފ ލތ ރތޅތއ ށފލޚ އމ
ި ި ި
ަ ު ަ ު ަ ަ ޭ ެ ު ޮ ަ ް ަ ާ ާ
ި
)
3
މ
.
ލތ ރވށއ
ަ ެ ު ް ަ
ި
(
ވށދމ ރބ ގމވރތކއރ ނލބގމވދހގ
ެ ެ ަ ާ ު ާ ެ ު ު ެ ާ ް ަ ް ަ ެ ު ު ު ު ާ
ި ި
.
އޙރސމ އއ
ް ަ ަ ަ ެ
ި ީ
،ގލއރކމ އގކތދ
ޭ ް ެ ޯ ް ެ ަ ު ަ ު
ި
ވނނމވނގ އތތވބ ގޖނޕސ ދއ ސފރމލރކ
ެ ެ ް ު ު ަ ް ަ ް ަ ާ ެ ް ް ޮ ް ަ ް ް ޯ ަ ޮ
ި ި
ި
.
ނރތއ ގމ
ް ު ު ެ
ި ީ
26
އލޖ
ި
ަ ު
2018
،އގ
ި
ަ
"
އރއ ޑޓކޓރޕ ނރމ ރއ ތއސ
ާ ޭ ް ަ ް ެ ޮ ް ް ެ ަ ު ު ަ
ި ި ި
"
ޓރފއ ގހވދއބ ނތގ ގމލބ ރވނމ ނނފ ހރހފ ނއ
ް ަ ެ ެ ު ަ ު ަ ް ު ޮ ެ ު ު ެ ު ަ ް ަ ް ެ ު ެ ް
ި ި ި ި ި
-
ޑސބ
ް ް ޭ
ނވރކ ސވއއސރދ
ެ ު ެ ު ް ެ ް ެ ާ ާ
ި
ވ
ެ
.
ނއސރދމ
ް ާ ާ
ި ި
ި
3.5
ނހރފ ގ މ
ް ެ ެ
ި
ި
01
ށކޑ ނގތގ ،ހރހފ
ް ަ ަ ަ ް ާ ު ެ
ި ި
15
ވނނފ ށކނރއ ށޗއމ ނނމނފ މ
ެ ެ ު ެ ް ޮ ަ ަ ް ަ ް ަ ް ު ް ު
ި ި
.
ށރގދ ނނފ ހރހފމ
ު ަ ު ު ެ ު ެ
ި
ީ ި ި ި
ށކޑނގތގ އގރފ
ް ަ ަ ަ ް ާ ަ ު ަ
ި
2.5
ނޑގ ހފށމރކސރދ ރއޑގ
ް ަ ު ަ ް ަ ު ު ާ ާ ު ަ
ި ި ި
ި
11:50
ވއގ
ެ ެ ަ
.
.
ށކޑގތގ ނނފ ހރހފމ
ް ަ ަ ަ ް ާ ު ެ ު ެ
ީ ި ި ި
4
ގވ ގޓނމ
ު ަ ެ ް
ި ި
ވށކޅކތ
ެ ެ ަ ަ ޮ ު
.
ހރހފ ނނފ ރހފމ
ި ި ި
ު ެ ު ު ެ ު ަ ަ
ނވއފ◌ނފ ށރހފ މތރފ
ީ ި ި
ަ ަ ެ ް ަ ަ ަ ަ ަ ަ ު
ި
20
ރއނޖ
ީ
ަ ު ެ
2018
ރކސރދ އގދއޙ◌ރސއ އގ
ާ ު ާ ަ ަ ު ް ަ ަ ަ ެ ަ
ި
ި ި
ަ
"
މރގރޕ ޗރސ◌ރ ކރޝލވ
ް ާ ް ޮ ް ް ާ ް ާ ް ޭ
ި
ި
"
ވއގއރތދ ސރދ ގ
ެ ެ ަ ް ެ ު ަ ާ ާ ެ
ި
.
ވނއ ނކތތރފ ނގ ށރވ ގރބ ނދނގނފ ނއޖއރ ރވސވދމ
ެ ް ް ު ަ ް ާ ަ ަ ް ަ ަ ެ ު ޭ ަ ް ެ ެ ް ެ ް ާ ު ަ ް ަ ު
ި ީ ި ި ި
ި
ށޓއވމތ ވއފމނނ ނތރފ ގރކރސ ރކ ،އރޒނމ ރކޓސ
ް ަ ް ެ ާ ާ ަ ާ ް ް ު ާ ަ ެ ު ާ ު ަ ު ާ ަ ް ަ ާ ު ް ް
ި
ި ި ީ ި
ވއޖތނ ގކތނމނނ އއބ ނފށކއތރސއ ވދނ އމތޖއ ދއ ،ދފވނލއގ
ެ ެ ާ ަ ެ ު ަ ް ު ް ް ެ ަ ާ ާ ް ޮ ް ަ ު ަ ަ ޭ ެ ޭ ާ ް ަ ަ ަ ާ ް ު ް ެ
ީ ި ި
ި ި ި
.
ގރކ ،އނނބބސ ގމވލދބ ރކރސ ނހފދދ ސވމނނހއ
ެ ު ާ ް ު ަ ަ ެ ު ު ު ަ ަ ު ާ ު ަ ް ު ަ ާ ް ެ ަ ަ ް ެ ެ
ީ ި
ި
ވމހ ރއދ ގރކރސ
ު ަ ަ ު ު ަ ެ ު ާ ު ަ
ވއފށކނލއޢ ށކނވއފވތގ އމ
ާ ަ ް ޮ ް ާ ު ް ޮ ަ ަ ެ ް ާ ާ
ި ި ި ި
ި
3
ރއދނގވރ އތނކ ދފމ އގތތއ ށއރކ ،ނބބސ ގއރއ ޑޓކޓރޕ ނރމ
ު ާ ް ެ ޭ ް ަ ް ަ ަ ަ ަ ާ ް ޮ ް ަ ު ް ު ަ ަ ެ ާ ޭ ް ަ ް ެ ޮ ް ް ެ
ި ި ި ި ި ި ި
ވއދނގވއ ދމއއ ގމކނވރ ނގއނސވ ދމއޓއވމތ
ެ ެ ެ ް ެ ެ ާ ު ް ު ެ ު ަ ޭ ާ ާ ް ެ ަ ް ު ެ ާ ް ެ ާ
ީ ި ި ި
ި
.
އރއ ޑޓކޓރޕ ނރމ ކދމއއ ގނމޑނގޅއ
ާ ޭ ް ަ ް ެ ޮ ް ް ެ ަ ް ު ެ ް ެ ު ަ ު ަ
ި ި ީ ީ
ގކޗފރ ށކސއޙ ،ނބބސ ގމދހ ސ
ެ ް ެ ް ް ޮ ަ ް ާ ް ު ަ ަ ެ ު ު ެ ް
ީ
ޅމ ށކލމޖ ޅމ ދއ އކތރފ ،ނބބސ ގމދހ އއއރއ ދފމ އގރވޑމ ދސރ ދނގ ނމރކސރދ ނކތތރފހބމކ ގރކރސ އނނތރފ
ި ި ި ި ި ި ި
ު ް ޮ ަ ް ު ު ަ ާ ަ ު ަ ް ު ަ ަ ެ ު ު ެ ް ެ ާ ޭ ަ ަ ަ ު ަ ަ ޫ ް ަ ާ ް ެ ް ު ަ ު ާ ާ ް ު ަ ް ާ ަ ޭ ެ ާ ަ ެ ު ާ ު ަ ާ ް ު ާ ަ
ި ި ި
ވމކނށފ ނވޅގރ ގތލހ ގމއޤ
ެ ެ ަ ެ ާ ަ ް ާ ު ަ ަ ެ ު ަ ާ ެ ު ު
ަ
.
އގރކ
ި ީ
ަ ު
ވ◌އވނގށކއ ނވޅގރ ތލހ ކޒނ ވއފވތމރކ ށޓއވމތ ނތގ ރހއފގނހ އތނކ
ެ ެ ެ ް ެ ަ ެ ް ު ު ަ ަ ު ަ ާ ު ު ާ ާ ަ ެ ަ ު ް ަ ް ެ ާ ް ު ޮ ު ަ ާ ް ަ ް ަ
ެ
ީ ި ި ި ި ި
ި ި
.
ނކމ މކއ
ް ަ ު ަ ެ
ި
ދއފ ބލ ށތޔއލމ ގމއގ ،ނތރފ ގރކރސއ ނވ ލސހ
ާ ަ ޭ ް ަ ަ ް ާ ެ ު ު ަ ް ު ާ ަ ެ ު ާ ު ަ ާ ާ ް ާ
ި ި ި ީ ި
)
ނބބސ ގމކރވރތފ ށކސއހ
ް ު ަ ަ ެ ު ަ ެ ު ު ަ ް ޮ ަ ް ާ
ި
(
އށމރކތޔމހ ށވމތ
ި ި ި
ާ ަ ު ު ް ަ ާ ެ ާ
ި
ށކތނކ ކއ ގޢމތޖމ
ް ަ ަ ް ަ ެ ެ ު ަ ަ ް ު
ި
ވނނގވރކނނބ ޅއޑނކ
ެ ެ ް ެ ެ ު ް ު ޭ ެ ަ ަ
ި ި
.
4
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Contents
Abstract
2
ޓކރޓސބއ
ް ް ެ ް ް ް ެ
3
Contents
4
1. Expedition review
5
1.1. Background
5
1.2. Research area
9
1.3. Dates
9
1.4. Local conditions & support
9
1.5. Scientist
11
1.6. Expedition leader
11
1.7. Expedition team
11
1.8. Partners
11
1.9. Expedition budget
12
1.10. Acknowledgements
13
1.11. Further information & enquiries
13
2. Reef Check survey
14
2.1. Introduction and background
14
2.2. Methods
and planning
27
2.2. Results
28
2.4
. Discussion
42
2.4.
Literature cited
54
Appendix I: Expedition diary and reports
58
5
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Please note: Each expedition report is written as a stand
-
alone document that can be read
without having to refer back t
o previous reports. As such, much of this section, which
remains valid and relevant, is a repetition from previous reports, copied here to provide the
reader with an uninterrupted flow of argument and rationale.
1. Expedition review
1.1. Background
Bios
phere Expeditions runs wildlife conservation research expeditions to all corners of the
Earth. Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions, but genuine research
expeditions placing ordinary people with no research experience alongside sc
ientists who
are at the forefront of conservation work. Our expeditions are open to all and there are no
special skills (scientific or otherwise) required to join. Our expedition team members are
people from all walks of life, of all ages, looking for an a
dventure with a conscience and a
sense of purpose. More information about Biosphere Expeditions and its research
expeditions can be found at
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org
.
This expedition report deals w
ith an expedition to the Maldives that ran from 21 to 27 July
2018
with the aim of surveying and studying recovery of reefs since the catastrophic 1998
and 2016 bleaching events. The project also ties in sightings of whale sharks with the work
of a local c
harity
the
Maldives Whale
S
hark
Research Programme
(MWSRP), based in
southern Ari atoll. Although the Maldivian reef atolls comprise a rich mixture of spectacular
corals and a multitude of fish and o
ther animals, the Maldives government identified a
need for further research and monitoring work as far back as 1997. Biosphere Expeditions
with this project is addressing this need and is working with the
Marine Conse
rvation
Society
(MCS) and the MWSRP in order to provide vital data on reef health and whale
shark sightings. Reef data collection follows an internationally recognised coral reef
monitoring programme
, called Reef Check,
and
is
used to make informed manage
ment
and conservation decisions. Whale shark photos
are
used by the MWSRP for their
conservation efforts
to record new sightings, and record sightings of previously identified
individuals. This gives an impression of the overall population of these animals
.
Coral reefs
Coral reef structures of the Maldives archipelago are diverse and rich. There are
submerged coral mounds
within inner atolls
, often rising 50 m from the seabed to 10 m
from the surface (thilas), other mounds that reach the surface (giris) a
nd large barrier
reefs, which surround these structures on the perimeter of the atolls, some of which are up
to 40 km long. The islands of the Maldives are entirely made from the coral sand washed
up onto the very shallowest coral platforms. More than 240
species of hard corals form the
framework of a complex coral community, from the shallow branching coral dominated
areas, to deeper systems of undercut caves and gullies dominated by soft corals and
invertebrates. Most coral communities in the central reef
s of the Maldives were still
recovering from the mass bleaching event of 1998, prior to the 2016 bleaching event.
6
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
The recovery identified by our surveys (Afzal et al. 2016, Solandt and Hammer 2012 &
2015 & 2017a
& 2018
, Solandt et al. 2013 & 2014 & 2016
)
, appears to have been
reasonably strong in many inner atoll reefs
since the 1998 bleaching event
, with extensive
recruitment and growth of branching and table
Acropora
corals (
A. hyacinthus
and
A.
clathrat
a
)
many tables exceeded 3 m in diameter at reef
tops (Deg
a Thila, Diga Thila,
Kudafalhu)
even by 2005
, and up to 2015
. It is for this reason that our expedition has
regularly focused on assessing reef health in areas initially surveyed prior to the 1998
mass bleaching event.
Figure 1.1a.
Large
Acr
opora hyacinthus
colony (photo from c. 2008 at Dega giri)
at 2
m depth
.
Many
reefs in the central Maldives
were starting to show signs of stress
even before the
2016 bleaching event
(Solandt
et al.
2016
, 2017
a
, 2018
). Some remain resilient and are in
good
condition, but others
we
re faring much worse with disease (principally white
syndrome
on
Acroporids
), predators (Crown
-
of
-
Thorns,
Drupella
snails),
and
persistent
low
-
level bleaching
prior to the 2016 major bleaching event
(Solandt
et al
, 2016; Solandt
an
d Hammer
l
, 2015)
.
The
change in coral
to
non
-
coral life
forms
observed
between 2011
and
2018
were greatly affected by the 2016 bleaching event that reduced coral cover by
about 25% over a year (Solandt and Hammer, 2017
b
, 2018
)
. Many reefs are
now showing
p
rolonged (over two
year
s
)
d
omination
by algal turfs, macroalgae and some sponges
(personal observation).
Some
deeper
reef
area
s
(over 3
m)
have
permanently
shifted to a
non
-
coral state dominated by turfs and corallimorphs (principally
Discosoma
)
and rubble
(Solandt and Hammer 2017a
, 2018
). The 2016 bleaching event seems to have had a
severe
long
-
term impact on some of the more sheltered reefs that lie inside the reef atoll
rims (call
ed
‘inner
-
atoll reefs’ in this report).
More will be discussed at the end o
f this
report.
The question of resilience and recovery is also covered in this report and an
associated publication (Cowburn et al
.
2019) that uses Reef Check data.
7
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
In addition to
supporting an expanding tourism and recreation industry, coral reefs also
pl
ay an unrivalled role in
supporting
fisheries and in the culture and lifestyle of the people
of the Maldives relative to most other Indian Ocean states. Tourism, reef fishing, coral
sand mining, dredging, reclamation
,
the construction of maritime structures
and pollution
represent
those
impacts on coral reefs that can be directly managed in the Maldives.
Resilience to the impacts of climate change can be monitored (e.g. to record recovery
trajectories of different reefs to mass bleaching events). Reef Check
offers
an extremely
useful tool to
involve citizen scientists in coral reef conservation
and
inform
local managers
on
where conservation action such as community
-
based management and MPAs should
be targeted.
With the introduction of tourism
to
the Maldive
s in the 1970s, the country started to gain a
major source of income and employment. Mass tourism in the Maldives is still
concentrated around the atolls close to Male’
,
and its infrastructure and resources entirely
rely on rich and healthy reefs.
Major in
vestment in ‘new growth’ of the economy has b
een
around tourism in the past five
years, with a doubling in the number of islands being
developed.
T
here is a significant increase in the amount of licences being offered to resort
developers around the more s
outhern atolls. A new airport in Mamigili (south Ari) has
opened up new areas for direct flights, increasing access to the area.
The remoteness of many reefs and their wide distribution make research and monitoring
work costly and difficult. The reefs th
at have been best studied are in the central areas of
North Male’, Ari and Addu ato
lls (e.g. Pisapia et al.
2016)
.
Data from these and previous
Reef Check surveys will be used at international, regional and national levels to provide a
‘status report’ on t
he health of Maldivian reefs. At the national level, it will be used to help
make informed management and conservation recommendations.
In order to assess a broad range of reef types, we surveyed inner (giri, thila and house)
reefs and the outer slopes of
atoll reefs around Ari atoll. This range of sites and habitats
gave us a useful understanding of the relative resilience and recovery
trajectories
of
different reef types and locations to the warming event of 2016.
Dives range
d
from
thila
s
, farus in inne
r reefs
,
channel
walls
and slopes
,
to
fore
-
and back
reefs, where gently sloping reefs are covered by hard corals and the regionally abundant
black tube coral,
Tubastrea
. All of our survey dives
were
to a maximum 18
m
depth, which
gener
ally are the shallow
water areas that provide the richest coral growth.
Fish populations including whale sharks
The fish populations of the Maldives are exceptionally rich in terms of diversity
, but the
number, size
and biomass
of commercial
reef
species
have been
seriously
impacted
(Sattar et al. 2012)
. The Maldivian government in 2008 banned shark fishing within the
atolls and their numbers appear to be increasing
(according to anecdotal reports from
some dive operators)
,
and small reef sharks are still commonly observed in
Maldivian
lagoon
waters.
The
Maldives
are
also a rich area for filter feeding whale shark
s
and manta
rays
(Fig. 1.1b)
, with observations of these species an excitin
g event for those on live
-
aboard dive
trips.
Currents
feed
the
atoll
s between the outer bar
rier reefs that punctuate
this vast archipelago, where the diving can be exciting
, but difficult for undertaking Reef
Check surveys
.
So places where many top predators are more prevalent (channels in
deeper waters rich in current
s
) are unfortunately off
-
li
mits to Reef Check, but these areas
do
n
o
t provide the best conditions for coral reef growth.
8
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Fig
ure
1.1b
.
M
obula
alfredi
observed at R
asdhoo Madivaru on
2
3
July 2018
whilst
laying a Reef Check transect
.
The expedition undert
ook
detailed observations of
whale sharks when they
were
encountered between reef survey locations.
Photographs of the gill areas of whale sharks
are being used by the
MWSRP
to identify individuals in order
to record presence / absence
of whale sharks in the archipelago.
T
he markings
in and
around the gill / pectoral fin areas
are unique
to
each individual
, and over 200 individuals have been recorded so far
. The
MWSRP
can then match one individual’s unique markings with the photographic record
and add that image and the whale shark’s
location to their database
,
and see if it has been
recorded before and
where. This
allow
s
conservationists at the
MWSRP
to
determine
where individual sharks go, how often they are recorded at individual locations and
whether further protection mechanisms a
re needed for
individual hotspot locations.
9
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not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
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mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
1.2. Research area
The Maldives or Maldive Islands, officially Republic of
Maldives, is a
coral atoll
-
island country in the Indian Ocean
formed
by a
chain of twenty
-
five
atolls stretching in a north
-
south dir
ection off India's Lakshadweep islands. The atolls
of the Maldives encompass a territory spread over roughly
90,000 square km. It features 1,192 coral islands, of which
only about two hundred are inhabited.
Figure 1.2a
.
Flag of the Maldives.
The Republ
ic of Maldives's capital and
largest city is Male’, with a population of
around 1
3
3
,000.
The total population is
~
314,000.
Traditionally it was the King's
Island, from where the ancient Maldive royal
dynasties ruled and where the palace was
located.
The Ma
ldives is the smallest Asian
country in both population and area.
But it is
the 1
1th
most
-
densely populated country on
earth.
Over
1
,0
00 species of fish have so far been
catalogued, including reef sharks, moray eels
and a wide va
riety of rays such as man
ta,
sting
and eagle rays
(Anderson
et al.
1998)
.
Sharks, turtles, anemones, schools of
sweetlips and jacks, eels, octopus and rays
are also found in Maldivian waters.
To date at least 240
hard coral species have
been described from
57
genera. 51 species
of echinoderms, 5 species of sea grasses
and 285 species of alga have also been
identified.
Figure 1.2
b
.
The Maldives. An overview of Biosphere
Expeditions’ research sites, assembly points, base camp
and office locations is at
Google Maps
.
1.3. Dates
201
8
:
21
-
27
July
.
The expedition ran over
a
seven
-
day period
(Saturday to
Fr
i
day)
.
1.4. Local conditions & support
Weather
The Maldives ha
s
a tropical and maritime climate with two monsoon seasons. The average
day temperature during the expedition months was
30
°C with overcast
, wind
y
and rainy
days, and occasional sunshine. Wat
er temperature
during the expedition was
approximately 28
°C
at all sites, and at all depths (according to most dive computers)
.
10
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not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
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mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Expedition base
The expedition was based on a modern four
-
deck,
wooden build,
115 feet live
-
aboard
boat, the MV
Theia
,
with te
n air
-
conditioned cabins,
and
an open air dining area. The boat
was accompanied by a
large traditional
diving dhoni (boat) with multiple compressors,
Nitrox and all facilities one would expect on a modern live
-
aboard. The crew provided tank
refills and div
e services. A professional cook and crew provided all meals.
Figure 1.4a.
The MV Theia expedition base.
Field communications
The live
-
aboard was equipped with radio and telephone communication systems. Mobile
phones worked in most parts of the study
site as long as the boat was within the atolls.
Also on
-
board was full access to WiFi at all inner
-
atoll locations.
The expedition leader also posted a
diary wit
h multimedia content on Wordpress
and
excerpts of this were mirrored on
Biosphere Expeditions’ social media sites
.
Transport & vehicles
Team members made their own way to the Male’ asse
mbly point. From there onwards and
back to the assembly point all transport was provided for the expedition team, for
expedition support and emergency evacuations.
Medical support and insurance
The expedition leader was a trained first aider and the expe
dition carried a comprehensive
medical kit. The main hospital is in Male’ city and there are medical posts on many of the
resorts. There is a recompression chamber on Bandos Island Resort near Male’ and one
on Ari Atoll.
Emergency and evacuation procedures
were in place,
but did not have to be
invoked as there were no
emergency
incidences, medical or otherwise.
11
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-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
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mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
1.5. S
cientist
Dr. Jean
-
Luc Solandt is a Londoner with a degree in Marine Biology from the University of
Liverpool. After graduating, he spent a
year diving on the Great Barrier Reef assisting field
scientists in studies on fisheries, and the ecology of soft corals and damselfish. He
returned to the UK and enrolled in a Ph.D. in sea urchin ecology in Jamaica, based both in
London and Jamaica. He we
nt on to be an expedition science co
-
ordinator for projects in
Tanzania, the Philippines and Fiji, and is now undertaking campaign and policy work in
planning
, managing
and developing
MPAs
in the UK
and is an advisor to the European
Commission
. He has been
the
leader and coordinator of
Reef Check for the Maldives
since
2005, and has thus far led over 10
expeditions to undertake surveys inside and
outside
MPAs
on the islands. Jean
-
Luc has
over a thousand
dives clocked up since he
trained to be a marine biolo
gis
t 30
years ago.
1.6. Expedition leader
Kathy Gill is a founding member of Biosphere Expeditions and has been there since the
start in 1999. Kathy was born and educated in England. Since gaining her BA in Business
at Bristol, she has worked in sustain
able development and regeneration for a variety of
public sector organisations, most recently the Regional Development Agency for the East
of England where she was responsible for developing and supporting partnership working
to establish sustainable devel
opment activities. At the main office Kathy is the
organisation's
Strategy
Adviser. She has travelled extens
ively, led expeditions and recci
ed
projects all over the world. She is a qualified off
-
road driver, divemaster, marathon runner,
keen walker, sailor
, diver and all round nature enthusiast.
1.7. Expedition team
Doriane Da Silva (UAE), Sally Fahmy (
the
Netherlands), Jorge Goya (Peru), Liesl, Lukas,
Matthias & Sophie Hammer (Germany & UK), Christopher Harris (Australia), Lewis Hines
(UK), Drew & Lee Jo
hnstone (South Africa), Kelsea Koch (USA), Jerred Seveyka (USA),
Sylivie & Yannick Solandt (UK),
Gemma Thompson (press, UK), Carlos Velasco
(Colombia).
1.8.
P
artners
On this project Biosphere Expeditions
worked
with
Reef Check
, the
MCS
, the Maldives
M
ari
ne Research Centre (MRC) of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture,
MWSRP
,
and
the MV
Theia
, LaMer
.
Data will
also
be used in collaboration with the Global Coral Reef
Monitoring Network
, IUCN
a
nd the University of York
. Our long
-
term dataset is not only
of
interest to conservationists working on monitoring the global status on reefs, such as those
from the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Conservation Monitoring
Centre and the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), but more local
ly too,
especially
with
regard
s
to
the effectiveness of current Maldivian
MPAs
in their ability to
protect and recover significant numbers and biomass of commercially impo
rtant finfish.
Around the expedition this year, MCS has been collaborating with IUCN
colleagues to
write
a scientific paper detailing responses to the 2016 bleaching event. The manuscript
has been submitted to Marine Ecological Progress Series
, and is due for publication in
2019
.
12
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
1.
9. Expedition b
udget
Each
participatin citizen scientis
t
paid towards expe
dition costs a contribution of
2,14
0
per seven
-
day slot. The contribution covered accommodation and meals, supervision and
induction, all maps and special non
-
personal equipment, all transport from and to the team
assembly point. It did not cover excess luggage charges, travel insuranc
e, personal
expenses such as telephone bills, souvenirs, etc., as well as visa and other travel
expenses to and from the assembly point (e.g. international flights). Details on how these
contributions were spent are given below.
Income
Expedition cont
ributions
27,694
Expenditure
Staff
includes local & international salaries, travel and expenses
6,001
Research
includes equipment and other research expenses
200
Transport
includes taxis and other local transport
0
Base
includes board, lodging a
nd other live
-
aboard services
16,854
Administration
includes some admin and misc costs
125
Team recruitment Maldives
as estimated % of PR costs for Biosphere Expeditions
8,676
Income
Expenditure
-
4,162
Total percentage spent directly on proje
ct
115
%
*
*This means that in 201
8
, the expedition ran at a loss and wassupported over and above the
income from the expedition contributions and grants by Biosphere Expeditions.
13
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
1.10
. Acknowledgements
This study was conducted by Biosphere Expediti
ons, which runs wildlife conservation
expeditions all over the globe. Without our expedition team members (listed above) who
provided an expedition contribution and gave up their spare time to work as research
assistants, none of this research would have b
een possible. The support team and staff
(also mentioned above) were central to making it all work on the ground. Thank you to all
of you and the ones we have not managed to mention by name (you know who you are)
for making it all
happen
. T
hank you also to
Hussein Zahir of LaMer for guidance and
advice
. Biosphere Expeditions would also like to thank the Friends of Biosphere
Expeditions for their sponsorship and/or in
-
kind support.
We also thank
the
IUCN who
have collaborated with us over recent months to pr
oduce a paper on bleaching resilience
(Cowburn et al
.
2019).
1.1
1
. Further information & e
nquiries
More background information on Biosphere Expeditions in general and on this expedition
in particular including pictures, diary excerpts and a cop
y of this
report can be found on the
Biosphere Expeditions website
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org
.
Copies of this and other expedition reports can
be accessed via at
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/reports
.
Enquires should be addressed to Biosphere Expeditions via
www.biosphere
-
expeditions.org/offices
.
14
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not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Please note: Each expedition report is wri
tten as a stand
-
alone document that can be read
without having to refer back to previous reports. As such, much of this section, which
remains valid and relevant, is a repetition from previous reports, copied here to provide the
reader with an uninterrupte
d flow of argument and rationale.
2.
Reef Check
survey
2.1. Introduction and background
to the Maldives
The Maldives comprises 1,190 islands lying within 26 atolls located in the middle of the
Ind
ian Ocean approximately 700 km s
outhwest of Sri Lanka and
at the tip of a submerged
ridge (the Chagos
Maldives
Laccadive ridge), rising 3,000+ metres from the abyssal plain
to the surface, where the
islands
emerg
e to form the atolls (Fig.
1.2
b
). The Maldives
covers approximately 90,000 km
2
, yet the land area cov
ers less than 1% of this total
(Spalding
et al.
2001). Together, the Lakshadweeps and the Maldives constitute the
largest series of atolls and faro
s
in the world (Risk and Sluka
2000).
The highest point of the
natural
islands is approximately 2.4 m
as all
the islands are
originally
made from fine coral sand. About 10% (200) of the islands are inhabited, with by
far the largest population living in Male’
-
the capital. Of the
(approx.)
44
0
,00
0 population
of the nation, a little over
1
30
,000 people live in t
he 1.8 km
2
of Male’, making it one of the
most densely populated urban areas on Earth (
United Nations 2018 estimat
es
1
).
The atoll lagoons range from 18 to 55 m deep and within these are a number of patch
reefs. Reef structures common to the Maldives incl
ude ‘
thila
s’ (submerged reefs with tops
from a few metres below the surface), smaller ‘giris’ and ‘faros’ (
the latter similar
to giris,
but ring
-
shaped reef
s with a central lagoon) (Fig.
2.1a).
Figure 2.1a.
Common reef structures of the Maldives (from
Tim Godfrey).
1
http://www.worldometers.info/world
-
population/maldives
-
population/
15
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not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
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mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
The outer
r
eefs that fringe the atolls have the greatest
historical
expanse of coral growth,
growing upwards and outwards towards the incoming current, thereby acting as
breakwaters of swell and tide. Dead coral material from these atolls and
inner patch reef
drifts to the leeward sides of the outer reefs. This process of constant
growth,
erosion and
deposition of
corals to
sediments is responsible for constructing the 1,190 islands of the
archipelago. This natural dynamic process has been alt
ered by the numerous human
habitations and stabilised to a degree by the colonisation of many of the islands by natural
vegetation.
Coral bleaching and generalised coral mortality has a significant bearing on
these processes.
The Maldives has two monsoo
n (wind and current) seasons. The North
east M
onsoon
brings in dry winds from the Asian continent that last between January and March. The
relatively wet
Southwesterly M
onsoon runs from May to November.
Global warming may
have affected these seasonal trends
in recent years, with less clear discrepancy between
wet and dry seasons
.
T
he current direction
, however,
has remained relatively constant.
Air
temperature range
s
between about 2
1
°
C
and 3
1
°C
and varies little between seasons. The
monsoon currents have a k
ey bearing on the distribution of pelagic planktivorous animals
across the archipelago. For example, Manta rays (
M
obula alfredi
)
are often found in the
sheltered sides of reefs relative to the incoming current, feeding on the plankton that drifts
to the le
eward side of the reef system (Anderson
et al
. 2011).
In terms of biodiversity, the Maldives atolls form part of the ‘Chagos Stricture’ and are an
important stepping
-
stone
between the reefs of the e
astern Indian Ocean and those of East
Africa (Spalding
et
al
. 2001). The fauna theref
ore comprises elements of both eastern and
w
estern assemblages. Diversity is high with
over 240
scleractinian corals, with maximum
diversity reported towards the south (towards Huvadhoo Atoll) (
Picheon and Bnezoni
2007,
Risk and
Sluka 2000). Over 1,000 fish
species have been
recorded
in
the Maldives,
a large proportion of which are reef associated (Anderson
et al.
1998).
Maldivian f
isheries
Tourism and fisheries are the two main generators of income for the Maldives
2
. Most of
the
finfish taken from the Maldives are tuna (by weight) with both yellowfin and skipjack
species dominating the catch with small amounts of bigeye also taken (Marine
Stewardship Council
3
). Up until 2010, Maldives fishermen solely used pole, line and hand
line fishing techniques to take skipjack and yellowfin tuna. As such, the Maldivian tuna
fish
ery has been marketed by many supermarkets in the UK as sustainable, because the
volume of catch taken by pole and line is relatively small compared to many longli
ne
fisheries around the Indian Ocean and there is minimal by
-
catch of other fish, cetaceans
and turtles
(Miller et al., 2017)
.
However, the stocks of tuna and other pelagic fish are at
threat in the entire Indian Ocean, largely because of
Illegal, Unregula
ted and Unreported
(
IUU
)
fishing, and because the EU has a large stake in fishing in 3
rd
party states
. (The EU
has negotiated quota to fish in the offshore (>12nm) waters of other states, and in
international waters
through the Indian Ocean Tuna
Commission
(IOTC) (Davies et al.,
2015)
.
2
https://tradingeconomics.com/maldives/gdp
-
growth
-
annual
3
https://fisheries.msc.org/en/fisheries/maldives
-
pol
e
-
line
-
tuna/about/
16
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-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
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mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
As tuna and other species do migrate outside of Maldives waters, this threat has led to the
MCS
downgrading the sustainability ratings of bigeye and yellowfin tuna in the past
4
,
5
.
This is not necessarily
the fault
of
Maldiv
es
fisheries management, but is a threat to the
wider stock
, that
range
s
outside Maldives waters
. Such issues can only be solved by
negotiations conducted within
IOTC
and through
multi
lateral trade and quota agreements.
However, many member states that are
exploited by distant water fleets haven’t put in
effective measures for monitoring or control, or adequate protection in areas (such as
MPAs) that should not be fished (Davies et al, 2015)
.
The IOTC
is relatively powerless in
controlling IUU fishing in su
ch expansive waters, and measures to control landings at ports
are inadequate in terms of traceability of fishing activity and stocks
6
.
It is well
-
known that
Sri Lanka regularly has
illegal
long
-
liners working the offshore banks of the Maldives, and
there
is a concern in the number Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that are used in deep
waters offshore to attract fish to areas where they can be harvested. Numbers of such
FADs
both legally and illegally deployed in the
Indian Ocean massively increased
betwee
n 2007 and 2013 (Mauf
r
oy et al., 201
6
).
There are increasing concerns over the
industrialisation of the bait
-
fishing methods used in the Maldives.
V
essels are using large
in
-
water lighting arrays within the centre of lagoons
in order to attract bait
-
fish
(
pers
onal
observation and communication
)
.
There
is no monitoring
on the sustainability and impact
of such new, large
-
scale removal of this part of the food web.
The Maldives has also recently banned shark fishing (2010)
throughout its waters
, which
can
be regarded as a major conservation
outcome
because of the catastrophic declines in
the global populations of reef and pelagic predatory shark species (Graham
et al
. 2010).
Although this is a commendable measure undertaken by the Maldives government, it is
very difficult to enforce
without significant inv
estment in water
-
borne
enforcement
vessels
,
and sufficient use of satellite
monitoring technology to track potential foreign long
-
liners
that will catch sharks
.
The Maldives
licensed a ‘small’ number of Mal
divian commercial
long
-
liners to target billfish from 2011.
T
he Maldives has a relevan
t enforcement
department (
the
Environment
al
Protection Agency
, EPA)
,
but this is woefully underfunded
.
T
he application of more str
ingent enforcement tools (such as A
utomatic
I
dentification
S
ystem
, AIS
), and recording of fishing vessel activity as reported in 2017
7
will help
eradicate IUU fishing
. The ban on the export of shark products introduced in 2011 has
undoubtedly made it more
difficult for Maldives
-
based fishers to trade in shark parts and
anecdotal evidence from Maldives dive operators suggests that in some areas sharks
appe
ar to be increasing in number.
Yet the problem will persist: The
influx of Chinese
construction
workers
around
Male
has coincided with an image
posted
on
the
Maldives
S
harkW
atch
F
acebook page
(on 18 October 2018)
of shark fins and skin drying outside a
temporary work accommodation in
Male’ (see Fig
.
2.1b).
4
http://iotc.org/sites/default/files/documents/science/species_summaries/english/Summary%20of%20Stock%2
0S
tatus.pdf
5
https://www.mcsuk.org/goodfishguide/fish/289
6
https
://stopillegalfishing.com/press
-
links/potentail
-
iuu
-
fishing
-
operators
-
maldivian
-
waters
-
get
-
serious
-
warnings/
7
https://stopil
legalfishing.com/press
-
links/potentail
-
iuu
-
fishing
-
operators
-
maldivian
-
waters
-
get
-
serious
-
warnings/
17
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
F
igure 2.1b.
A shark skin and fins drying beside an accommodation block in Male’ for the Maldives bridge
construction project. This image was
recorded on the Maldives SharkWatch Facebookpage.
A decision made by the Maldives government in March 2010 to o
pen the Maldives waters
to domestic long
-
line fishing, whilst excluding vessels from other nations (principally from
Sri Lanka)
,
wa
s highly controversial. This was a reaction to the reduction in yellowfin catch
by Maldivian fishermen recorded between 2005
(186,000 tonnes) and 2008 (11
7,000)
(Minivan News
2010)
8
, making traditional pole and line fishing techniques from larger
vessels unprofitable.
There has been a growing demand for reef fish species in recent decades, partly because
of the expansion
in
the
numbers of tourist resorts across the nation (Wood
et al.
2011) and
mostly because of the growth in the export market to the Far East, which is serviced by
grouper cages that have been set up within a number
of atolls. Wholesalers periodically
visit the g
rouper cages that are stocked by local fishers to buy the fish to export live and
fresh
-
chilled to foreign markets. A report by the
Maldives Marine Research Centre
(M
RC)
in 2005 highlighted a declining catch since 1
997, three years after the commercial fishery
started in 1994 (Sattar and Adam
,
2005). A further report by MRC in 2008 showed that
demand for reef fish had tripled in the last 15 years and that a management
strategy for
grouper was needed to ensure sustain
abl
e catches in the future
(Sattar 2008)
. MRC ha
s
recently
work
ed
with the
MCS
in the past
to develop a
management plan
for grouper.
8
http://minivan
news.com/environment/cabinet
-
approves
-
long
-
line
-
fishing
-
for
-
maldivian
-
vessels
-
5385
18
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Some of the
recommendations from past reports, including provision to increase the
minimum landing sizes for som
e species into the grouper cages
and for market
,
have met
with resistance in some atolls. Given the small sizes of many species seen in the wild as
outlined
in
previous
report
s
(Solandt and Hammer 201
5
,
Solandt et al.
2016, 2017
a
,
2018
)
, it is regrettable that the trajectory for the Maldives fishing out their grouper
population as a viable commercial species is a distinct possibility
within
the next
ten
years
.
A project by the
Blue Marine Foundation
ha
s work
ed
in the south with resort partners and
the
government to reform fisheries management around spawning locations at Laamu
atoll
9
, but other than that t
here appears to be no concerted effort to protect grouper stocks
from being fished out.
L
abelling some grouper spawning locations as ‘protected spawning
sites’ may have
been counterproductive, in part
le
a
d
ing
to the
m
being over
-
fished, more
than protected.
The
MCS
has learned that some ‘protected’ or ‘known’ spawning channel
locations are effectively targeted by fishers once they
are
discovered, or protected by law
(unnamed dive guide,
pers comm).
S
ome believe it is simply better ‘management’ to keep
secret
those
channel locations where spawning is known to occur.
Due to past political interference in the rule of law and due process, there were a number
of developments that were patently
counterproductive
for the Maldives environment under
the previous admi
nistration. Resort development, and other major capital infrastructure
project investments from overseas
,
were p
ermitted
despite contrary
advice by The
Environment Protection Agency
(EPA)
and
MRC
.
D
ecisions by the EPA were effectively
rejected
by the
power
ful
tourism ministry
10
. W
e hope this will change with the new political
administration that was voted in in October 2018
, but so far (June 2019) there have only
been pledges in manifestos
.
Whether the administration can re
-
visit some of the more
damaging de
als done in the past is debatable. At least we hope there will be proper
accountability of decision
-
making in the future. And that such measures are made in the
national interest.
Coral bleaching
Probably the most serious current threat to global coral r
eefs is the effect that global
warming has by bleaching hard corals.
Coral bleaching is
a stress response by corals
where
by corals expel symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) from their tissues as temperature
rises for a prolonged period above an ultimately leth
al threshold.
Although the temperature
threshold at which co
rals bleach varies by region,
coral
and algal
type, the temperature
threshold at which corals become stressed in the Maldives is regularly cited as 30
º
C
(Edwards et al.
2001).
The
exact temperatur
e and how long it persists
elicit different
responses in different coral species and genera.
Broadly speaking
, t
he longer the corals
are in contact with elevated sea surface temperatures, the greater the likelihood that the
corals will bleach. And the long
er the coral host is unable to re
-
acquire zooxanthellae, the
greater the likelihood that the coral will die
from starvation
, as it gains most of its energy
from the sugars produced by the algal cells within its tissues.
9
http://www.bluemarinefoundation.com/project/maldives/
10
http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/03/20/maldives
-
regime
-
imperils
-
coral
-
reefs
-
dash
-
cash/
19
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
1998
Reef Check
surve
ys and bleach
ing event
During April and May 1998 a temperature of over 32
º
C
was recorded in the Maldives for a
period of more than four weeks
(Solandt and Hammer
2017a)
.
This led to mass bleaching
down to at least 30 m (Edwards
et al
. 2001). Shallow reef communities s
uffered almost
100%
mortality with live coral cover of central reefs decreasing from about 42% to 2%, a
20
-
fold reduction from pre
-
bleaching
coral
cover. Since 2005
, Reef Check surveys have
observed
few large
colonies of massive
reef building corals
,
and a
much higher proportion
of faster growing Acroporids and Pocilloporids
, particularly at sheltered inner atoll reefs
(
personal observations and
Cowburn et al.,
2019
)
. This suggests there has been patchy
rec
overy due to recruitment of new,
more ephemeral cor
als, rather than recovery from
survival and regrowth of older colonies that recovered zooxanthellae immediately after the
warming event
.
The 1997 and 1998
Reef Check
surveys were carried out by both
MRC
staff (Zahir et al
.
1998)
and by loca
l resort marine
biologists. Zahir and co
-
authors
showed that the princip
a
l
families to bleach were the shallow
-
water
Acroporidae
and
Pocilliporidae
. More resilient
corals included the
Agariciidae
and
Poritidae
families that form mo
re massive coral
species. Others
(e.g. C
lark et al.
1999) found that the
coral cover in the range of 23
-
70%
p
re
-
bleaching fell to 0
-
10% post
-
bleaching
in many sites
.
The 2015/2016 El Ni
ñ
o / bleaching event
The El Ni
ñ
o of 2015/2016 was the second
most significant
bleaching event
after
the 1998
event, with l
arge tracts of Indian Ocean reefs
bleaching
between
March
and
May 2016
(see Fig. 2.1
c
).
Before the
bleaching event
reached the
Maldives,
it devastated the
reefs of
Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippine archipelago).
In
additi
on,
22% of
the reefs
in
the Great Barrier Reef were very seriously bleached and the wider Pacific
Ocean saw bleaching throughout most of 2015.
Seawater temperatures were recorded by colleagues at
Baros Maldives
throug
hout the
2016 bleaching event. They recorded the temperatures at their house reef on th
e island
from April to May 2016 (
Table
. 2.1a).
Table 2.1.
a.
S
urface seawater temperatures (S
ST
)
recorded at Baros Maldives from
1
April through to 26 May 2016.
Tempe
rature degrees C
5 m
10 m
15 m
20 m
1
-
Apr
-
2016
30
30
29
29
7
-
Apr
-
2016
30
30
29
29
14
-
Apr
-
2016
31
30
30
30
21
-
Apr
-
2016
32
31
30
30
28
-
Apr
-
2016
32
32
31
31
5
-
May
-
2016
32
32
31
31
12
-
May
-
2016
31
30
30
30
19
-
May
-
2016
30
30
30
30
26
-
May
-
2016
30
30
30
30
20
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Figure 2.1
c
.
Coral b
leaching
coincided
with a warm water ‘pulse’ that moved fromsouth to north over the islands between April and May 2016.
21
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
The
2016 bleaching event was
similar to
the 1
998 bleaching event for its severity,
longevity and impacts
(Afzal et al.
2016)
. It
i
s clear from the
last 20 years
of surveys
that
the
1998
event
had a long
-
term impact on the coral cover and population of some reefs of
the nation
(
see all Maldives
B
ios
phere
Expedition reports
since 2011 by
Solandt
and
various other authors, cited in the literature below).
D
irect loss of coral cover
was less
during the
2016
than the
1998
bleaching event,
but only because
reefs were at a lower
baseline condition
in 2015
than they were in 1997 (own
observations, Pisapia
et al.
2016
and Fig 2.
1d
)
.
Solandt and Hammer (2017
a
, 2018
) reported that the bleaching event had
ramifications for the deeper reefs of inner atolls that
have
resulted in algae and other
benthic
life
forms
(
e.g. sponges, ascidians and corrallimorphs) taking over the
substrate
.
The concern
regarding
the Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives
,
where such bleaching
events appear catastrophic in the sho
r
t term
,
is that of the ability of reefs to continue to
recrui
t and grow whilst staving off the deleterious effects of repetitive bleaching events,
as
well as
the effects of
ocean acidification
, which
makes it more difficult for corals to
assimilate carbonate skeletons
(e.g. Perry and
Morgan
2017)
.
The continuous
ass
imilation
and growth
of the entire coral structure of the Maldives
(
a so
-
called
net
positive
carbon
budget)
is quite literally the
physical
foundation of the nation. It
allows the Maldives
to be
structurally secure
and
to
keep pace with a number of
potenti
ally catastrophic events such
as (1)
stronger storms
(related to increased energy in the seas due to increased surface
warming translated t
o ocean
-
derived weather events),
(2) thermal expansion of our seas
(due to increased temperature effects o
n the surfa
ce of the ocean) and
(3) sea
-
level rise
(due to melting ice
-
caps).
Figure
2.
1d
.
Coral cover through various e
vents in the recent Maldives history (from Pisapia
et
al.
2016)
up to the end of 2016
.
Major events
(arrows) are: 1998
-
bleaching,
2004
tsunami,
2010
bleaching, 2015
Crown
-
of
-
Thorns outbreak.
The 2016
bleaching
event
impact (coral cover from 34% t
o 12% for
the
sites
discussed in this report
)
is superimposed
in red
on this plot to give a sense of our own
recent
perspective
(Solandt et al.
201
7a
)
.
22
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Longer
-
term effects of
bleaching
events
include erosion of dead cor
al skeletons to sand
and rubble, w
hich
le
ads
to less buffering of wave action around the atolls,
which in turn
leads
to beach erosion
. This carries significant
potential cost
for
the Maldives
11
, as
explained above
.
M
any
surveys in
recent years by our expeditions have identified rubble
slope
s
at
around 10
-
15
m
depth
at
some of the more sheltered reefs. We believe these
predominantly
consist
of corals that died during bleaching event
s
and
were
broken down
by subsequent wave action and the boring action of worms and bivalves
(Solandt
et al.
201
3)
. Under gravity, they
fell
to the lower reaches of the reef.
Expansive fields of
coral
r
ubble is a problem
for recovery
, as its continuous movement and erosion makes it near
impossible for
corals
to
grow once settled
onto the moving substrate
(Chong
-
Seng
et al.,
2014)
.
A University of British Columbia
12
survey by
Hauert
et al.
(
1998) undertook extensive
Reef
Check
surveys in Angaga Island in June 1998,
three
months after the catastrophic
bleaching event. 80% of corals were dead and covered by fine filame
n
tous algae.
If such
observations were typical of the reefs we have surveyed since 2005, then the recovery
and grazing of algae by herbivorous fish has been extraordinary to facilitate conditions for
coral recruitment and growth (Pisapia et al., 2016).
Bio
sphere Expeditions
and MCS
undertook the first ‘bleaching recovery’ surveys in 2012,
and found that the reefs of Ari atoll were generally recovering well, from the outer channel
reefs of the north east, to the inner south central house reefs (including tho
se at Angaga
Island in the centre of the atoll) (Solandt et al. 2013).
Surveys carried out in September
2015
found many sites to be affected by storms, leading to
breakage
of corals and
damage to shallow and deeper reefs
. Ari
atoll
was considered to have b
een less affected
by the 1998 bleaching event than
reefs nearer the capital, at
North
Male’ atoll
(
Zahir,
personal communication
)
.
Summary of
threats to Maldives reefs
Maldives reefs are under threat from both local anthropogenic and global climate
-
induc
ed
pressures. Key threats are:
Climate change and
associated sea surface temperature
increases leading to coral
bleaching
(from human caused increases in C
O
2
concentration)
Increased atmospheric C
O
2
concentration that resu
lts in seawater acidification; t
his
leads to decreased skeleta
l strength of calcium carbonate
-
dependent corals,
decreased growth rate, and decreased reproductive output
of corals
Over
fishing of keystone species (e.
g. predators of Crown
-
of
-
Thorns and
herbivorous fish).
Sedimentation and
inappropriate/unsustainable atoll development
Poor water treatment
Solid waste
11
http://ec
ocare.mv/beach
-
erosion
-
a
-
vulnerable
-
scenario
-
in
-
the
-
maldives/
12
http://www.math.ubc.ca/~hauert/publications/
ReefCheck
98/index.html
23
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Marine Protected Areas
(MPAs)
MPAs are a
conservation
tool that has increasingly been used to stave off
and repair
the
worst impacts
of over
-
exploitation and damage to our
seas
13
.
The IUCN has recorded 43
MPAs in the Maldives
14
covering less than 0.1% of the country’s seas
(Fig 2.1
e
)
.
In many tropical seas
MPAs
have been use
d
to
help recover
fisheries resources
. This
works
when the
re is limited encroachment
due to adequate bu
y
-
in and enforcement
(Leenhardt et al.
2015)
. However,
enforcement and monitoring
are
where MPAs are
lacking
. T
hey are
often illegally
fished,
which can
mak
e
their role unpopular with
local
stakeholders
, as they prevent access to some people (
such as
fishe
rmen
that respect the
rules
),
whilst transgressors take the benefits the MPAs accrue
(Edgar et al.
2014)
.
MPAs
need to perform to be supported, and will always be at threat from fishers who need to
make a living for their families. Nevertheless, there
have
been some successes of
Maldives MPAs
where there has been
some
investment in enforcement
and awareness
.
Figure 2.
1e
.
MPAs of central Maldives atolls in July2018. Source UNEP
-
WCMC.
13
https://www.iucn.org/theme/marine
-
and
-
polar/our
-
work/marine
-
protected
-
areas
14
https://www.protectedplanet.net/country/MV/pdf
24
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
For example, t
he reserve in Baa Atoll (Hanifaru Bay) ha
s
been establi
shed in an area that
is relatively easy to enforce for access to see whale
shark and manta rays
, as it is an
enclosed reef with limited entry points
(Fig. 2.1
f
)
15
.
Heavy tourist use
and the employment
of local rangers who support the MPA have been key to th
e success of the MPA.
Figure 2.1
f.
Hanifaru Bay marine reserve, Baa atoll (designated in2009).
By contrast, the
Mamigili MPA in South Ari atoll is less successful
,
because of the lack of
regulation of numbers of boats
accessing the whale
sharks
, and
its
openness (it borders
the open sea
for its entire southern border
)
(see Fig. 2.3p
)
.
The 25 MPAs that were established in th
e 1990s to protect dive sites
and their fish
populations
have
been heavily dived and are likely to have been damag
ed (in their
p
hysical structure
and
through
coral damage) by contact with
diver
fins, hands and
dangling equipment
(Barker and Rober
ts
2004)
.
But diver damage is negligent compared
to coral bleaching and overfishing impacts.
15
http://www.mv.undp.org/content/maldives/en/home/ourwork/environmentandenergy/successstories/biospher
ereserve.html
25
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Although
these MPAs
are
meant to be
protect
ed from fishing (to help support interest from
divers)
16
,
there is no significant difference in numbers
of fish
between inside and
outside
the
MPAs (
Solandt et al.
2009,
Coward
2013
)
. These results sug
gest
that
fishing has
continued since designation.
It i
s
clear from our observations
and fish surveys carried out
in the past (
Solandt et al.
2009
)
that Maldives MPAs are failing to
provide greater
fishing
biomass
.
Whilst MPAs cannot provide immediate protection from b
leaching, associated
management
and protect
ion from damage and over
-
fishing can kee
p the ecosystem
balance healthy
and provide good condi
tions for recovery (Bruno et al. 2018). These
conditions include
waters clear of sedimentation, healthy fish populations,
and
hi
gh
populations of algal grazers, w
hich
help facilitate more rapid recovery from such
catastrophic events such as the 1998
and 2016 coral bleaching events. Such effects will
only occur, however,
where protection is real, i.e.
where it is
facilitated by adequate
enforcement and education.
M
ulti
-
million
-
pound
investment is needed to provide boats, access from local islands,
wardens, training, equipment and a local judiciary that can prosecute transgressions and
infractions in MPAs. Only then will there be the potential for MPAs to boost natur
al
resources. Philanthropists are willing to invest in countries
such as
the Maldives to create
such mechanisms
(e.g. the Berteorelli Foundation
17
)
. However
such investment is more
likely
if there
are limits to
corruption
, government is secure
, and investme
nt is properly put
towards legitimate enforcement of protected area rules
.
Since few of these conditions are
likely to be met in the Maldives (for example, the country is ranked 124
th
out of 180 on
Transparency International’s global corruption index
18
), in
vestors will
naturally
be wary.
Governance and management issues
There are a number of
govern
a
nce
, socio
-
economic and political issues within the
Maldives that reduce the ability of local,
regional
and national management
agencies to
deal with such
press
ing issues. Paradoxically, the Maldives
has
embark
ed
on a
political
platform
to establish
more
MPAs
and lobby for decreases in global C
O
2
emissions
(under
the Nasheed administration
from 2009
up to 2012)
.
Political and government instability
since then has
led to a minimal focus on these objectives.
For example,
the previous
government
push
ed
more
tourist
islands
19
whereby international reporters have detailed a
lack of due
(legal)
process in their sale to offshore middlemen, acting on behalf of hotel
chains
.
A new government since September last year has pledged ‘transparency’ of future
affairs relating to tourism, but there are no apparent developments on dealing with
historical miss
-
selling of land under the previous administration.
16
https://maldivestourism.net/maldives/protected/
17
https://www.fondation
-
bertarelli.org/
18
https://www
.transparency.org/cpi2018
19
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/report
-
exposes
-
maldives
-
orgy
-
corruption
-
election
-
18091712160875
2.html
26
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
There is a chasm betw
een the understanding of political leaders in what constitutes good
marine
resource management (e.g. the establishment of MPAs on paper) and the
requirements to make them work
for both biodiversity and
local
communities.
Perhaps it
is wilful ignorance
20
.
This is a
s much a
problem in the UK
,
as it is in the Maldives
.
Solutions require
extensive interaction between community
-
based scientists and
practitioners with government officials
at the highest levels. Only with investment
into
developing solutions an
d effective marine protection
governance
systems
will nations start
to recover biodiversity
21
.
Biosphere Expeditions surveys are carr
ied out on an annual basis
to record conditions at
permanent monitoring sites in North Male’ and Ari atolls, and to underta
ke bleaching
recovery survey
assessment dives
. They are relatively cost
-
effective
as fee
-
paying
citizen
scientists
and external fundin
g
help support the work. B
ut in order
to
really
expand the
knowledge of reefs and their status, we need many more Maldivia
ns to progress Reef
Check
-
style projects, which is why Biosphere Expeditions has
had
a placement
programme with the aim of seeding community
-
based monitoring programmes.
Out of this programme have come various initiatives such as
educational booklets in 2011
,
the
first
-
ever all
-
Maldivian Reef Check survey
in 2014
,
continued community
-
based
survey efforts in 2016
and
2017
.
Most recently, graduates of the placement programme
founded
Reef Check Maldives
. However, in the current political and economic climate it is
h
ard to retain traction with graduates as they avoid controversial subjects such as reef
protection and seek paid, rather than voluntary
,
work.
Maldives reef surveys
In order to help the Maldives in facing up to some of these issues, Biosphere
Expeditio
ns
and the
MCS
have been developing a
survey and training programme, which aims to:
Increase the information base on the status of Maldives re
efs in collaboration with
local
partners (e.g. the MRC
/ MWSRP
/
EPA /
LaMer Group
/ Save the
Beach
/Gemana
)
B
uil
d capacity in local marine man
agement and resource assessment
(e.g. Reef
Check surveys at the
local island Vilingili with NGO
‘Save the Beach’)
.
Provide educational resources at
key sites around the Maldives
C
ollaborate with environmentally
-
sensitive tou
rism operators and resorts in
undertaking reef protection measur
es, and reef survey assessments
(e.g. Baros
Maldives)
20
http://www.socialpolicyconnections.com.au/?p=13730
21
https://s3.amazonaws.com/wwfa
ssets/downloads/lpr2018_summary_report_spreads.pdf
27
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
In order to undertake this
,
Biosphere Expeditions has
:
Undertaken
Reef Check surveys at over
30
sites in
seven
years, compiled and
qual
ity
-
assessed the data, and sent it to Maldivian and international c
oral reef
monitoring programmes
Trained eight
individuals employed in government marine resource assessment
surveys
, NGOs
and from the tourist and diving industry whilst
on liveaboard
expe
ditions; w
e hav
e also undertaken training of
ten
individuals (private
consultants, resort marine biologists
, EPA
and MRC staff)
in M
ale’ after an
expedition (2012)
D
esigned, printed and distributed (with the ‘Live and Learn’ Foundation) over 500
guides on
the effectiveness of coral reef conservation to school
children
U
ndertaken training in resorts and with local dive
operators
and have collabora
ted
with resorts to train staff and provide them with R
eef
Check and other reef survey
resources
F
unded Maldiv
ian Reef Check teams (purchasing training packs, transect tapes and
recording equipment).
2.2. Methods and planning
Biosphere Expeditions uses the
Reef Check methodology
for its cor
al reef surveys.
The
201
8
surveys were c
arried
out
with the aims of
:
Record
ing
patterns
of recovery
and resilience
from the 2016 bleaching
Carry
ing
out effort
-
based transects of the South Ari
MPA
reef for whale sharks
Visit
ing
a ‘hope spot’
22
as indicate
d to us by Hussein Zahir in South Ari atoll
(Theluveligaa) as listed in the IUCN bleaching report of 2016
Develop potential new initiatives for reef conservation in the Maldives
For the
expedition
(21
-
27
July 201
8
)
we surveyed
six
sites (see
Table
2.3a
.
)
in Ari atoll
.
The
initial
training
site was
meant to be
at Baros Maldives, but was left after the initial dive
assessment as it was so damaged (<5% coral cover). We then trained and surveyed at
Rasdhoo Madivaru
and
R
asdhoo East
,
with ensuing surveys at t
wo
depths (4
6
m and 9
11
m) at
B
ath
alaa
m
aagaa, Kudafalhu
, Dega
g
iri, Thel
u
v
eli
gaa (a new site
a ‘hope
spot’
according to local experts
)
and
Dhigurah Wall
to the south of the atoll
(see
Fig. 2.3a
)
.
All training was carried out on board the MV
Theia
during the first
three
days of the
expedition
.
The methodology used was the internationally accredited
Reef Check
method
as described in previous reports (
Afzal et al. 2016, Solandt and Hammer
2017a
).
22
‘Hope Spot’ is an area where there appears to be resistance to bleaching. However, as we didn’t receive a GPS
position from IUCN or MRC, we couldn’t find the specific location
.
As such we dived the
ext
remely sheltered
inner lagoon
that was found to be dominated by algae
, and likely to have been heavily affected bybleaching in 2016
.
28
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Biosphere Expeditions carried
out
l
ogistics, health an
d safety on board the
research
vessel
and recruitment of
citizen scientists
. The scientific programme, training and data collection
and analysis
was
led by Dr Jean
-
Luc Solandt
,
Reef Check
Course Director.
In addition
to the Reef Check surveys
, u
p to 20 i
m
ages were taken along the transect
of
one or more dives at each site
for subsequent
analysis for assessing coral lifeforms.
Images were taken of
frames
between 20 and 50
cm wide (identifiable along the
Reef
Check
transect, with the transect within the imag
e frame).
Im
ages were subsequentl
y loaded into
Coral Point Count
(CPC)
,
which
was used to
generate
ten
random points over each image, and subsequently record the proportion of
different coral lifefor
ms at
all
sites
.
2.3
. Results
Sites surveyed
Sites surveyed
during
the 201
8
expedition were a mixture of inner atoll sites (
thila
s and
giris) and outer reef walls and slopes. Sites
(Table 2.3a / Fig 2.3a)
were selected on the
basis that Biosphere Expedi
tions and MCS had surveyed these areas since
2005
(Rasdhoo m
adivaru) and 2008 (Dega
t
hila
), thus giving a longer
-
term perspective to the
data of reefs that had
been
recover
ing
since the 1998 bleaching event. We also wanted to
understand any differences in
patterns between the more sheltered inner atoll reefs with
lesser water circulation and depth, and the outer reefs
,
which are adjacent to much greater
water depths.
Table 2.3
a.
Site names and locations.
S
ee
also
Figur
e 2.3
a
below.
Site name
Date
Latitude
Longitude
Inner / outer
reef
Atoll
Baros Maldives*
21.7.18
4 1
7.231
N
73 25.2
64
E
Inner
North Male’
Rasdhoo m
adivaru
23.7.18
4 15.947 N
73 0
0
.17
0
E
Outer
North Ari
Bathalaa
maagaa
24.7.18
4 3
0
.34
0
N
75 57.41
0
E
Outer
North Ari
Kudafalhu
24.7.18
4
0
1.0
52 N
72 48.311 E
Inner
North Ari
Dega thila
25.7.18
3 50.
680
N
72 45.0
72
E
Inner
South Ari
Theluveligaa
25.7.18
3
3
9.
926
N
7
2 53.945
E
Inner
South Ari
Dhigurah Wall
26.7.18
3 30.799 N
72 55.016 E
Outer
South Ari
*Training site
: No data collected.
29
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Figure
2.
3
a.
Central Maldives atolls with the
survey locati
ons.
The sighting of the w
hale
s
hark was in almost
the identical position (although a little further southwest) to the survey at Dhigurah Wall.
30
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Figure
2.3b
.
Mean substrate composition
(+SD)
at 5
m depth in inner and outer reefs (see Fig 2.3a for locat
ions).
HC = hard coral, SC = soft coral, RKC = recently killed coral, NIA = nutrient indicator algae,
SP = sponge, RC = rock, RB = rubble, SD = sand, SI = silt, OT = other.
Hard coral (HC) cover
was
significantly
higher at outer than inner reefs
(Fig. 2.
3b)
, as it
was in 2017
. Many of the
coral
genera that
had
dominated outer reefs
in 2017
were still
present and healthy
. These tended to be robust encrusting and massive growth forms,
dominated by
Porites lutea
and
P. lobata,
and the bleaching
-
tolerant
Poci
llopora
meandrina
and
P
.
verrucosa
. The latter
gen
era
(other than the bleaching intolerant
Se
r
iatopora hystrix
that used to
be
ubiquitous on shallow reefs of the Maldives
)
were
recruiting well to Maldives reefs on reef flats and outer reef walls.
Figure
2.3c
.
Coral reef at 5 m at Rasdhoo showing
the dominant genera
Pocillopora
in shallow water
, next to
a common reef octopus
(
Octopus cyanaeus
)
.
A
nother
Pocillopora
(about 25 cm wide) is in the background
.
31
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Figure
2.3
d
.
Coral reef at
5
m at Rasdh
oo showing
the dominant genera
Po
rites
in shallow water
.
32
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Figure
2.3
e
.
Coral reef at
10
m at
Dhigurah W
all
showing
the
most
dominant
recruiting
genera
Pocillopora
(rectangle).
A
lso
Acropora
(circled),
and even an unidentified species of
Favites
(
squar
e
)
. Image size is 40cm
x
30cm (LxW)
.
Figure
2.3
f
.
Coral reef at
10
m at K
uda giri
(southeast S
outh Male’ atoll)
showing
the
area of greatest cover
of
Acropora
colonies observed in the entire expedition. This was not a survey dive.
33
© Biosphere Expeditions, a
not
-
for
-
profit
conservation
organisation
registered
in Australia
,
England, France, Germany,
Ireland,
USA
M
ember of the United Nations Environment Programme's Governing Council & Global Ministerial Environment Forum
Me
mber of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Figure
2.3
g
.
Sheltered lagoon
reef at 7m at
Thel
uveligaa
.
Note the heavy infestation of
Padina commersonii
that