[Coral-List] Seagrass smothering in the Maldives (fwd)
iain at xenon.upton.biz
Mon May 16 08:16:57 EDT 2005
Please see forwarded message. Rejected intially as I sent it from the
wrong account (unregistered with the list). Apologies for the mistake.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 19:37:54 +0100 (BST)
From: Iain Benson <iain at xenon.upton.com>
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov.
Subject: Seagrass smothering in the Maldives
Dear List members,
A former colleague and friend of mine, working for a well known resort in
the Maldives Islands (which for now shall remain unnamed), has recently
alerted me to a destructive
project being undertaken with instruction from the resort manager.
A project to destroy the seagrass beds in the lagoon just off the beach is
underway. The reason being that future guests expect clean blue water to
swim in and no washed up grass on the beaches in the morning. The resort
was badly damaged
by the tsunami last December and is most probably not going to re-open
within the year, the staff are evidently being kept busy with interesting
projects such as this.
The method they are using involves laying down sheets of plastic over the
seagrass and weighing this down with bags full of sand thereby smothering
the grass, leaving it and other benthic fauna and flora to rot. There is video
footage showing small fish being trapped under the plastic.
My friend has tried to reason with the manager citing various research
into the importance of sea grass bed communities and their place in the
reef ecosystem as nursery grounds for fish - which the tourists come to
see. Unfortunately there seems to be no way of making the
management stop this terrible project, even though many of the employees
being forced to take part know that it is ecologically unsound.
Initially, this is driven by an uninformed attitude of resort guests but
the resort is perfectly capable of producing educational information.
I would like to know if the resort has carte blanche regarding what
it does with the areas below the low water mark in the Maldives? Is
there anyone this activity can be reported to? Perhaps someone on the
list works in an advisory capacity to resorts (maybe even in the
Maldives) and can post some advice?
I would appreciate any suggestions,
Many thanks in advance.
Iain R. Benson
More information about the Coral-List