The locally-owned resort, Baros Maldives, is known as one of the best diving locations in the Indian Ocean. This is largely due to its stunning “house reef”, which is just 15 meters from the shore, and from the resort’s dive center, which was the first to open in the archipelago.
Since opening in the early 70s, the resort has been a pioneer of Indian Ocean coral reef conservation and education.
More recently, it went beyond conservation into active restoration of the health condition and biodiversity of the surrounding reefs.
Now, in August of 2018, Baros Maldives has announced that they are expanding that restoration program with new initiatives. They are responding to growing concern for the decline of the world’s coral reefs by introducing new checks and regulations carried out by the in-resort expert Marine Centre team.
One feature of the new program is that resort guest can actively help “plant” new corals on damaged reefs.
Other aspects include daily reef checks, where the team monitor the presence of threatening coral-eating species including the Crown of Throwns starfish and a sea snail known as Drupella.
For example, if the team find 10 Crown of Throwns starfish during one hour of snorkeling, they are safely removed from the reef and relocated elsewhere in order to limit the damage.
In addition, the marine team continue their efforts to educate both guests and resort staff on how to look after the ocean. They are now able to join in and assist with the reef-cleaning and underwater patrols.
This involves the removal of any plastic bottles, bags, cans and other litter from the reefs, as well as “ghost nets” which are discarded from fishing boats and trawlers and often come tangled in the reef, endangering larger marine life such as turtles, sharks and fish.
These efforts are in addition to the resort’s ongoing Coral Rehabilitation Programme, which gets guests involved in a ‘think global, act local’ initiative to help grow new coral around the island. The program allows guests to sponsor a coral frame with their names engraved on it to help increase the amount of coral growing there.
The natural sea movement and actions of fish can cause pieces of coral to break off, where they end up on the seabed where they have little chance of survival.
Thanks to the program, guests can contribute to the reef enhancement project by collecting the broken coral fragments and working with the team to re-attach them to the cleverly-designed frame, which providing a stable substrate elevated from the seabed, where the coral can regrow and multiply.
This year-round activity teaches guests about the impact of our actions on the environment, and allows guests to come back year after year to watch their coral tray grow and flourish.
It’s also possible to contribute to this restoration program without participating in the workshop by donating to the Coral Reef Rehabilitation Fund.
Baros Maldives is a privately-owned Maldivian resort situated in the central southern part of North Male’ Atoll and was one of the first to open in the country, back in 1973. About 25 minutes by speedboat from Maldives International Airport, it features 75 private villas—both over-water and on the beach—plus three restaurants, two bars and a spa.
All photos courtesy of Baros Maldives.