LAAMU, Maldives – February 28, 2018 – One of the most valuable ecosystems on our planet, seagrass, is being deliberately removed so as to maintain the white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters prized by the tourism industry in the Maldives.
On World Seagrass Day, March 1, 2019, the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI), the marine team at Six Senses Laamu and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) will be launching the #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass campaign to protect seagrass at all resorts in the Maldives.
Natasha Prokop, MUI head marine biologist says, “We're only just beginning to comprehend the scale of the problem in the Maldives. In a survey of 49 resorts, we found that 50 percent of those that have seagrass actively remove it- and those are just the ones admitting to it."
Dr. Paul York, a world-renowned expert on seagrass from James Cook University in Australia, spoke out against the controversial practice at a seminar on seagrass at the Maldives National University. “It is deeply concerning that resorts are removing one of the most important ecosystems in our biosphere. Seagrass is a vital food source for the endangered green sea turtles, it supports healthier coral reefs, fights climate change, offers coastal protection and supports commercial fisheries”.
Natasha added, "Resorts mostly remove their seagrass for aesthetic reasons, ignoring the ecosystem services it provides in favor of potential for the tourism industry."
Marteyne van Well, Six Senses Laamu general manager, has seen the benefits seagrass has had on tourism since the resort pledged to help protect it almost two years ago. “Whether it’s watching green sea turtles feed meters from their villas or snorkeling alongside eagle rays, numerous guests have praised us for pledging to help protect our seagrass. This feedback from guests shows that seagrass and tourism can coexist - with overwhelming benefits to all parties”.
The campaign will bring together resorts, international organizations, film makers and scientists all in partnership and all advocating for its protection.
Marteyne spoke out about the growing need for resorts to work together in the Maldives to tackle environmental issues. "It's easy as a resort to just focus your marine conservation efforts on your own doorstep. We're looking forward to working with other environmentally-conscious resorts to create a larger voice and advocate for not only seagrass protection, but for numerous other conservation issues. These partnerships will be a key tool in tackling the challenges the Maldives is currently facing and developing a sustainable business model for existing and future resorts.”
Dr. York felt optimistic that the campaign could set an example for the global tourism industry. “With the total area of seagrass worldwide declining at a rate of 7 percent per year, there has never been a more important time to start protecting seagrass. If the Maldives tourism industry sets the standard for other locations around the world, then we're likely to see other countries follow suit, reap the benefits seagrass has to offer and protect a key habitat on a global scale.”
Learn more about the campaign at www.protectmaldivesseagrass.com and show your support for the campaign on social media by using the hashtag #ProtectMaldivesSeagrass.
A guest at Six Senses Laamu snorkels among the protected meadows at the resort.
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Seagrass is a peripheral habitat for Hawksbill turtles and an important food source for Green turtles, classified as “Endangered” and “Critically Endangered”, respectively.
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About Six Senses Laamu
Six Senses Laamu is the only resort in the Laamu Atoll, deep in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by a beautiful coral house reef. Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater, however beach villas and on-land dining are an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view to the ocean and Maldivian nature.
Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, an ice cream parlor, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill bar. Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both over water and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.
Six Senses Laamu hosts one of the largest teams of marine biologists in the Maldives, the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI). Staff from Six Senses Laamu and its three partner NGOs: Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and Olive Ridley Project work together under the banner of MUI and seek to lead the tourism industry in the Maldives with meaningful marine conservation efforts based on research, education and community outreach.
About Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas operates 16 hotels and resorts, plus 37 spas in 21 countries under the brand names Six Senses, Evason, Six Senses Spas and Raison d’Etre. Resort, hotel and spa projects are under development in Austria, Bhutan, Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.
Six Senses properties share a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, wellness and design, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat or urban hotel, the enduring purpose is to help people reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them.
Six Senses Spas offers a wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists in all resorts as well as at 16 additional standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach guides guests on their personal path to well-being, taking them as deep as they want to go.
Six Senses Residences provides the best life has to offer. From beautifully-appointed villas on the beach, rustic chalets in the mountains and spacious urban hideaways, Six Senses features a variety of residential choices in stand-alone buildings or attached to a resort or hotel. No matter the location, the promise remains the same and the commitment to create a community where every day revolves around learning and growing, great food and drink, innovative wellness programming, sustainable living – all mixed in with a lot fun.
Evason follows the Six Senses philosophy of uncompromised responsibility to sustainability and the community. Its two unique resorts provide a strong value focus, while offering a vast array of personal guest experiences that the whole family will love.
For further information, please contact:
Marketing Communications Officer
Six Senses Laamu
T +960 6800 800
M +960 791 6897
Benjawan Sudhikam (Ms.)
Director of Public Relations
Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
T +66 2 631 9781
M +66 8 181 38234