Facts and figures
- tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands
- Tourism is the largest industry in the Maldives, accounting for 28% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts
- It powered the currentGDP per capita to expand 265% in the 1980s and a further 115% in the 1990s
Threats to coral reefs in Maldives
– various types of fishing can destroy the coral reef; dynamite fishing blows up the coral which destroys the reef, nets from intensive fishing get caught on the reef and damage it, and anchors from fishing boats also harm the corals.
- rising sea levels in the Maldives are a threat as corals cant survive with sea levels above 25m. This rise in sea levels could be due to many factors (including global warming)
-extreme weather events such as hurricanes can harm the reef due to rising sea levels, strong waves etc.
-inputs of fresh water on the coasts due to an increased population and increased number of hotels are a threat as saline water is required for survival.
-mining coral is a threat
-pollution from agriculture, sewage and industry threatens the coral. This occurs due to the fact that the Maldives is an LEDC and so can’t afford cleaning plants for water. It is therefore just dumped straight into the ocean.
-dredging activities are harmful
-river-borne nutrients and sediment discharges from natural sources and deforestation are a threat
Why coral reefs need to be managed in a sustainable way?
- Tourism has become the country's major source of foreign exchange, surpassing fishing
- These are one of the main attractions for tourists in the area.
- In 1992 tourism income constituted 17% of GDP
- Tourism is expected to increase as the government infrastructure improvement projects in the areas of transportation, communications, sanitation, water supply, and other support facilities are put into place.
=> need to be sustained for economic stability
– education, training and legislation needs, e.g. banning dynamite fishing and coral mining. Improving public awareness
- establishing priority areas and co-ordinated integrated strategy
-emphasising key themes, e.g.
-protection of coral reefs from mining, sewage contamination, waste disposal and rising sea levels
-managing population growth and migration
-managing broader environmental issues including dredging, fresh water management, and deforestation
-setting up 19 specific site projects, e.g. the islands of Gaagandu and Gama
-monitoring, education, land-use zoning, and marine parks.