A study is to be conducted in Raa atoll Vandhoo, to understand the changes in the population of sea turtles. The island h the highest turtle sightings in the Maldives.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, the study is being carried out jointly by the ministry, Waste management Corporation Limited (WAMCO) and the Olive Ridley Project (ORP), a non-profit organization working for the conservation of sea turtles. An agreement in this regard was signed yesterday, the ministry said.
As part of the agreement, the coast of Vandhoo will be monitored and studied for a period of one year. According to the ministry, the study is being carried out to assess changes in the population of sea turtles and to determine their reproduction rate.
Vandhoo, maintained by WAMCO, is being used for management of waste generated in several northern atolls. According to the Ministry, the island is one of the most popular nesting sites for turtles.
• WAMCO will recruit Assistant Environmental Safeguards Officers for the study.
• Officers are responsible for monitoring and protecting turtle nesting sites on the island.
• These officers will be trained in collaboration with the ORP.
• WAMCO employees working on the island will be made aware of the study.
In 2021, the Ministry conducted a pilot project in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on in Raa atoll Innamaadhoo. During the three-month study, it was found that the number of turtles nesting on the island had significantly decreased, according to the Ministry.
Since April 4, 2016, all species of sea turtles have been protected under the Maldives Environment Conservation and Preservation Act. It is illegal to catch turtles, take their eggs, or harm them in any way. Despite heavy fines for these offenses, there are still occasional reports of turtles being caught and consumed in the Maldives.