Stakeholder consultation workshops on South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area (S.A. MPA) were held on 15 and 17 August. Organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, the workshops’ aim was to discuss the challenges faced at S.A. MPA and to canvass a roadmap towards a management plan to protect this unique and valuable site.
The first workshop was held in A.Dh Maamigli with local community stakeholders. Fishermen, teachers, local NGOs, island councils of Dhigurah, Dhiddhoo, Maamigli and Fenfushi and the A.Dh Atoll council were in attendance.
The second workshop, with tourism industry stakeholders, was organized in Male’. Representatives from resorts, including general managers, dive centre managers and liveaboards representatives were present. Board members of the Divers Association of Maldives (DAM) and the Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM) were also in attendance.
S.A. MPA is the biggest MPA in the Maldives; it was established in 2009 for its unique whale shark aggregations occurring all year round. Whale sharks are listed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable with a decreasing population trend. Thanks to stakeholders’ input, we are getting closer to defining proper management to preserve this species and the spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities it offers.
The workshops were sponsored by Global Blue.