Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Drew

Mantas at Hanifaru: Protection from tourists?

Recommended Posts

Shukuriyah Shaf.

 

From what I've heard on the outside, there are no plans for anything. The resorts apparently decided to shut down the Baa trips but the dive association and liveaboards boycotted that boycott. It is a bit of a mess I guess when you have that many vested interests in a small patch of sand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spoke to the owner of LOBs during ADEX, he said Maldives is in the process of implementing something - a "site" fee & a daily limit to the number of boats/visitors to the site. They know that it is important to protect their rice bowl for the long run. The (dive) tourism market is incredibly competitive in the Maldives, it is important for the stake-holders to work together (easier said than done, I know...)

To prevent the "cow-boy" operations, maybe they should work out a list of responsible dive boats/operators that we (the consumers) can choose from. Many of times, the consumers just go for the lowest priced tours... It is even maybe more complicated in the Maldives where dive operators don't own the boat, they just "charter" the boat for a year (or 2?)...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to update this as I am just back from the area.

 

The new "plan" is currently in effect and is in Phase 1 which lasts until the end of this monsoon/year (don't remember which). Then Phase 2 kicks in - which is the long term plan. I read the document while I was there. It does seem that Save Our Seas people seem to have been written out of history all together.

 

Anyway, currently, under Phase 1 access to Hanifaru alternates each day between liveaboards one day, day boats the next. Scuba and strobes are still allowed.

 

Under Phase 2 the bay will be snorkelling only (which I am in favour of - as it leaves the mantas the rest of the water column and seems a good solution).There are plenty of dive sites nearby where you can easily dive with mantas. But access will be limited to 45 minute windows. No strobes will be allowed (which kind of makes sense for snorkelling only). Professional photography only allowed under licence (this is not defined). I think that the 45 minutes is a bit OTT (but the time could be changed later), but actually don't have too many issues with all these. As at its worst if was a mess and something needed to be done.

 

I will be interested if there will be work arounds - such as pay enough and you can dive (rich divers do not disturb!). Pay enough and you can link several 45 minute sessions together and effectively spend several hours in the Bay etc.

 

What does concern me GREATLY is the plan to build a jetty at Hanifaru in the lagoon - to handle all the people and manage the 45 minute sessions. Hanifaru only exists because of a unique interaction between the tidal currents and the topography. Making a significant change to the topography, like this, really doesn't seem a good plan. It could potentially lead to a change in the flows or even a filling in of the bay with sediment, particularly during the NE Monsoon when wind, waves and currents come from the opposite direction. A series of permanent moorings would be a better solution.

 

Finally, there seemed far less people about than during my trip at this time last year. Although it could be that with a relatively poor showing by mantas (we only had a max of 20 at any time). That is not going to affect liveaboard numbers, but it will cut down on day boat numbers from the local resorts.

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex, who is the overseer? Is it the Maldivian government's own agencies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think so - I posted, hoping to prompt a discussion involving some of the locals who are better informed than me. Who can furnish us with some more facts.

 

There are park wardens on site now.

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...