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Conserving coral reefs

Ruth Krause
April 8, 2014

The spectacular coral reefs of the Maldives are in danger of dying out in some places. One project is trying to halt the destruction by roping in tourist resorts, local residents and marine biologists.

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Image: Axel Warnstedt

Maldives - Rain Forests of the Seas

Project goal: the IUCN “House Reef” program aims to enhance the resilience of coral reef ecosystems in the Maldives, especially the Ari atoll, to climate change

Duration: From 2012 to 2016

Size: Seven IUCN staff members are based in the Maldives. Five hotel resorts are currently involved in the project

Key species: Manta rays, whale sharks

Coral reefs contain a dazzling variety of species and are considered among the world’s richest ecosystems. But in the Maldives, the reefs have in some places been reduced to clumps of gray chalkstone. Climate change is to blame, but also sewage and trash deposited in coastal waters, as well as careless divers.

Coral reef expert Ameer Abdulla from the nature conservation organization IUCN wants all stakeholders to take responsibility for preserving the reefs. He’s set up the “House Reef” project - which is part of the Blue Solutions network funded by the International Climate Initiative - to convince hotel managers to set up private marine conservation zones with the help of marine biologists.

A film by Ruth Krause