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Coral conservation at Baros Maldives - A pioneer in responsible tourism

Baros Maldives, the pioneers of Indian Ocean coral reef conservation and education, continue to develop their efforts to improve the condition and diversity of reefs by involving guests in a ‘think global, act local’ initiative to grow new coral around the island.

The dedicated staff at Baros Maldives are pioneers in their field and have always been extremely active when it comes to reef conservation and education. Their dive centre, Divers Baros Maldives, was one of the first in the archipelago and was the first resort EcoDive Centre in the Maldives, as certified by International Reef Check. Reef Check is an internationally recognised marine data collection programme that works together with communities, governments and businesses and scientifically monitors, restores and maintains the health of coral reefs around the world. The resort’s in-house Marine Biologists also work with various national projects, including the Manta Trust (Manta Rays Conservation), the Maldives Turtle ID programme and collect data for the Olive Ridley Project, which involves locating abandoned ‘ghost’ nets in which wildlife could become trapped.  

The coral polyp, which is responsible for the formation of reefs, is an extremely fragile animal that gets damaged very easily on contact or from variations in water temperatures (the 1998 El Niño raised sea temperatures, causing the worst global coral bleaching in recorded history.) Following the principle of “prevention is better than cure”, Baros guests who visit the Marine Centre are advised how, when and where to go snorkelling to limit the damage of corals or other marine organisms.   

Baros Maldives started their Reef Rehabilitation Programme around their own stunning house-reef, which starts just 15 metres from shore. Guests can sponsor a coral frame and help to 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, with little chance of survival. Thanks to the programme, guests can contribute to the reef enhancement project by collecting broken coral fragments and working with the team to re-attach them to cleverly-designed frames, which provide a stable substrate elevated from the seabed, allowing the coral can regrow and multiply.  

Guests can learn all about reef conservation during their stay at Baros and reduce their own carbon footprint by sponsoring a coral tray with their names engraved on it. This year-round activity is ideal for families who want to teach their children about the impact of actions on the environment, or for couples who can come back year-on-year to watch their coral tray grow and flourish. They can plant their tray themselves and will receive updates twice yearly on the growth of their adopted corals. It is also possible to contribute to this environmental programme without participating in the workshop but donating into the Coral Reef Rehabilitation Fund. This enables guests to sponsor one or more coral tray that will be filled by the Marine Centre Team and added to the growing coral reef around Baros.  

So far this programme has been hugely successful with around 200 coral tables planted to date, some of which are located around Baros’ 30 luxury Water Villas, while the majority surround its fine-dining restaurant, The Lighthouse. This process also creates new homes for various marine animals. The Baros Maldives Marine Nursery is inhabited by juvenile Batfish, Octopuses, various species of Damselfish and Sweepers. While Blennies, Snails, Goatfish and Surgeonfish regularly visit the coral frames and young Oriental Sweetlips spend the early months of their lives sheltering under them.  

All Baros Maldives guests are invited to meet on-site marine biologists to get first-hand information about the currents, tides, marine life and interesting places to see around Baros, even before getting into the water. The Marine Centre offers complimentary snorkelling equipment and is open for informal chats about environmental topics every day. Guests may visit the Marine Centre at any time during their holiday to discuss fish and invertebrates seen and to learn how to identify the resident sea turtles. There are also complimentary weekly 60-minute educational presentations, where guests are invited to learn about the formation of the Atolls and islands of the Maldives, the terrestrial fauna and flora, the coral’s biology and the dangers to reefs, as well as about the various animal families likely to be encountered during snorkelling and SCUBA diving at Baros.  

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 in 1973. Just 25 minutes by speedboat from Maldives International Airport, it is home to 75 private villas, both overwater and beach, three fantastic restaurants, two bars and beautiful spa. Rates start from $675 per night in a Deluxe Villa on a B&B basis, excluding taxes.  

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