This extraordinary site is not only important for tourism but a crucial ecosystem for the marine life of Laamu Atoll. It is home to a grouper spawning aggregation, a manta ray cleaning station, and one of the largest sea turtle aggregations in the country. We believe that the protection of this crucial biodiversity hotspot must be a priority to ensure productive marine ecosystems and sustainable fisheries in the atoll.

Hithadhoo Baaneykolhu Turtles

In 2022, Maldives Resilient Reefs started working with Hithadhoo Island Council to protect the area as a Community Conserved Area (CCA) that reaps direct benefits to the island community in both the short and long term. We believe that by working closely with the council and the community, there is an opportunity to conserve this area through a consultative process that allows the island’s fisherfolk to actively shape and participate in the management of the area. We hope that through this project we can also foster capacity and curiosity among the island’s youth to take part in citizen science, marine research, and conservation.

Hithadhoo Baaneykolhu Naufal Presentation

MRR is working with the council to put together a management plan on how this area will be managed and a by-law to enforce the agreed management measures. An Environment Officer hired and trained by MRR and seconded to Hithadhoo Council is working to facilitate the process and meet project deliverables. Once the CCA is established, the Environment Officer will become a full-time staff member of the council tasked with carrying out the management of the conservation area.

The management plan is being developed with extensive engagement with the community, tourism operators, as well as local and national government institutions. It is vital for all parties to be consulted in this process to ensure that the management measures are successful.

Hithadhoo Baaneykolhu Community

If successful

This would be a first in the Maldives – a Community Conserved Area designed and managed at the island level, making Hithadhoo a model for other island communities and councils across the Maldives. A handbook on how to create a Community Conserved Area will be made available to other councils through the Local Government Authority.
Commodi et eius.