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Equator Village pledges total protection of its seagrass bed

Ahmed Aiham
26 June 2019, MVT 11:45
The Equator Village in Gan, Addu Atoll. Patches of Seagrass can be observed throughout the lagoon. PHOTO: EQUATOR VILLAGE
Ahmed Aiham
26 June 2019, MVT 11:45

The Equator Village in Gan, Addu Atoll, on Tuesday pledged to maintain 100 percent of its seagrass beds, following its participation in the nationwide campaign to 'Protect Maldives Seagrass'.

According to a statement by the resort, its seagrass bed spans an area of approximately 7,600 square metres.

“We have a lot of divers here, and they notice that the seagrass gives a home for fish… you see fish there, shells, sea turtles. After seeing these things, guests feel really satisfied”, said Resort Manager Mohamed Waheed.

Hoping to change how people percieve seagrass, in 2016 the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) together with the luxury resort Six Senses Laamu, joined efforts to demonstrate how seagrass and tourism can coexist and generative positive outcomes hand in hand.

As their message gained momentum, the collaboration launched the campaign, calling for resorts and the public to pledge their support for the protection and preservation of seagrass beds in the country.

A total of 35 resorts and 22 organizations have endorsed the campaign, resulting in the protection of around 655,000 square metres of seagrass, which is equivalent to 90 football fields.

The campaign has also been officially endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism.

“The results of this campaign show that tourism and seagrass can coexist. If we want the Maldives’ marine environment to have the best chance of withstanding the challenges over the next century, then we need to work towards protecting this critical habitat”, said BLUE's Laamu Project Manager Shaha Hashim.

Seagrass, by definition, is a complex underwater flowering plant that can form dense underwater meadows. These beds of grass grow in lagoons around islands, providing habitat for megafaunas such as turtles, rays, sharks as well as an innumerable number of fish and invertebrates.

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