Maldives Declares Protection for Seven Marine Areas

Seven areas of Baa atoll have been declared protected and the area of two previously protected areas have been extended.

A declaration was signed today between the Environment Ministry and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) on the occasion of the World Environment Day, declaring the seven areas protected.

Many environmental projects have been conducted in Baa Atoll before and the atoll is noted for its biodiversity compared to all other atolls that make up the nation.

The areas protected under the declaration include an uninhabited island called Mendhu, the island’s reef and several other uninhabited islands surrounding the island covering a total of 200 metres.

Baa atoll Goidhoo swamp area, Maahuruvalhi Faru and the surrounding area isolated on the western side of the atoll, and the islands and reefs of Bathalaahura, Gaaganduhura and Vinanehfaruhura encompassing an area of 32 square kilometres are included in the list.

Under the declaration, an area known as Dhorukandu including an island called Mathifaruhura has gained protected status as well.

A kilometre of area surrounding a ship called ‘Kobin’ that was grounded on the northern side of the island of Baa atoll Fulhadhoo in 1602 has also been protected.

The span of Dhigalihaa area, which was protected in 1998, and the area around Baa atoll Hanifaru Island, which has been protected since 2009, has been extended today as well.

Dhigaligiri has been added to the Dhigalihaa protected area and Hanifaru has been included in the protected area around the island.

Speaking at a meeting held at the Housing Ministry today, Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam said Baa Atoll being one of the most biologically diverse atolls in the country has gained global attention.

The minister said United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has been suggested to recognise Baa Atoll as the Maldives very first biosphere reserve by July.

Biosphere reserves are globally recognised protected areas to promote sustainable protection of land and marine biodiversity.

Source: Haveeru News

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