Don’t switch off lights for Earth Hour, says Home Ministry

The Ministry of Home Affairs today ordered residents of Malé City to keep their lights on during Earth Hour.

Expressing concern over a recent spike in violence in Malé, Home Ministry Spokesperson Thazmeel Abdul Samad said: “Switching off lights for this year’s Earth Hour is prohibited for the safety and security of Malé’s residents.”

Earth Hour, organized globally by the World Wide Fund for Nature, calls on citizens of the world to switch off their lights for one hour between 8:30 and 9:30 pm on the last Saturday in March as a symbol of commitment to the planet.

The Home Ministry also shut down a music show organized by the Scouts Association tonight, but said roads will be closed to traffic between 8 and 10 pm to celebrate Earth Hour.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has meanwhile called for a march in Malé during Earth Hour in support of imprisoned former President Mohamed Nasheed, globally known for his advocacy against climate change.

Political tensions have been high in Malé following Nasheed’s and former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim’s imprisonment. Many have speculated the Home Ministry shut down the Earth Hour event due to Nasheed’s popularity within the environmental movement.

Environmental campaigner and musician Ahmed Shiham said he was disappointed that a global event had “become politicized due to the government’s unfortunate decision.”

“It’s not a crime to switch off,” he said.

Environmental group Ecocare Maldives has also urged Malé residents to continue with the Switch Off event.

“Despite the government’s disapproval on celebrating Earth Hour in Malé, Ecocare Maldives would like to call all organizations, institutions and corporations to switch off your lights and participate in the hour! Be part of the global movement from 20:30 to 21:30. We encourage all individuals to take part and use your power to change climate change,” the NGO said in a statement today.

Fathimath Thanzeela, an organizer with Save the Beach in Malé’s suburb Villingili, said the group had called off a bonfire, an acoustic music show and a fire dancing performance on the Home Ministry’s orders.

“It’s very disappointing when the situation in the country deteriorates to the extent we are unable to hold an event for the environment,” she said.

The opposition alliance has been protesting nightly since February 10, initially over President Abdulla Yameen’s alleged breach of the Constitution, and later over Nazim and Nasheed’s arrest and convictions.

The Economic Development Ministry last week ordered all shops and cafes to be shut down an hour earlier, 10 pm and 12 am respectively following the spate of street violence and arson attacks.

A 25-year-old migrant worker, Shaheen Mia, was stabbed to death on March 22. At least four expatriate workers were stabbed in the following days. On March 19, a fire at a warehouse in Malé spread to neighboring residences driving hundreds from their homes temporarily.

Meanwhile, two vehicles were torched in Malé on Thursday night. The police have not made any arrests in any of these incidences so far.

The police have threatened to crack down on nightly protests, claiming protesters were disrupting local businesses and inciting violence. The opposition has denounced the threat as an attempt to silence dissent.


Malé pedestrianised zones to be piloted on February 15

A pilot project to establish vehicle-free zones in the capital Malé will be introduced on February 15, authorities have revealed.

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure and the Transport Authority of Maldives, housing minister Dr Mohamed Muizzu said the scheme will see the closure of Heena Goalhi and Raiyvilla Magu in Henveiru ward to vehicles, including bicycles.

“We will also establish special parking zones for people from houses on these roads, special permits will be given to them to park in these parking zones”, Muizzu explained.

President Abdulla Yameen has previously pledged to ban traffic in narrow lanes in Malé in order to ease congestion in the densely crowded city of 130,000 people, allowing space for children to play.

Transport Authority chairman Abdul Rasheed Nafiz said that the measures would need to go hand-in-hand with a reduction in the number of vehicles in order to find long-term solutions to traffic congestion.

Although the government has not finalised the measures, Nafiz said that current proposals included the halting of vehicle registration renewal for vehicles older than 15 or 20 years, with new vehicle registration open only allowed as older vehicles are taken out of use.

“The new slots will go to the highest bidder. We think this is the most fair manner in which we can do this,” Nafiz said.

Muizz today noted that a ministry survey had shown that some areas involved in the pedestrianisation scheme have storage facilities and garages, but that those businesses will be required to load and unload goods by parking outside the pedestrianised areas.

People who park their two wheeled vehicles inside their homes will be allowed to walk their vehicles to the houses inside the no-vehicle areas.

“Physical obstructions will be put in place and traffic police will be monitoring the area to ensure vehicles do not enter. We will ensure there is enough space for wheelchairs and such,” said Muizzu.

According to the ministry, the pilot project will continue with the closure of more roads in all wards along with Henveiru – including Galolhu, Machchangoalhi and Maafannu – until June 8.

Nafiz explained that the stickers assigned to vehicle owners of the residences in the pedestrianized zones will be given free of charge and must be displayed.


Maldives not the best habitat for crocodiles, says EPA

The Maldives’ climate and geography does not make it the best habitat for crocodiles, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following an increase in sightings.

Director General Ibrahim Naeem told Minivan News today that it is very unlikely crocodiles will be able to reproduce and populate the country.

“The crocodiles being sighted these days are most likely to have drifted with the currents from nearby countries,” said Naeem.

“If crocodiles were to populate this country, it would have happened thousands of years ago.”

Multiple crocodile sightings have been reported to the authorities in recent days after a 10ft creature was caught last month in Laamu Atoll Kalaidhoo.

The reptiles – which can grow up to 22 feet in length – are usually found  in mangrove swamps, rivers, estuaries, deltas, and lagoons. Saltwater crocodiles are known to live in the east coast of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal.

Naeem speculated that all the reported sightings may have been a lone crocodile. He also denied quotes attributed to him in some media outlets suggesting that the Maldives hosts a habitable environment for crocodiles.

“Media should refrain from spreading false information which might incite fear in the hearts of the people living in the islands,” said Naeem.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Nolhivaram Council Abdulla Shareef told Minivan News that something which is believed to be a dead crocodile carcass has washed up on the island’s shore today.

“We have found a severely decomposed remains of what is believed to be a big 10ft crocodile today,” said Shareef. “We have informed Maldives National Defense Force which is going to examine the carcass before burying it.”

Shareef also said that a crocodile fitting the same description was reported in the nearby Nolhivaramfaru Island two days ago.

Media reported two more crocodile sightings last night alone, with Vaguthu saying that two fishermen made a sighting in Haa Alif – the country’s northernmost atoll, while another was said to have been reported in Addu City – the country’s southernmost.

Yesterday, the MNDF urged the public to refrain from trying to catch crocodiles without assistance from relevant authorities as sightings around the country continue to rise.

“It is important to call the authorities as soon as you see the crocodile. Sometimes, MNDF have been contacted after the crocodile flees an unsuccessful attempt to capture it. It is then very hard to track and find the animal,” said a spokesman.

While crocodiles are not native to the Maldives, it is believed that the increased sightings coincide with the beginning of the Iruvai (North Eastern) monsoon.

The most famous of the Kinboos is housed in Malé’s children’s park, where it has grown to over 10ft in length since its capture in 2008.

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Environmental coalition urges President to stop oil exploration

Twenty NGOs have urged President Abdulla Yameen to stop plans for oil exploration in Maldivian waters, or risk the country’s economic and environmental health.

In a joint statement of concern, marine conversation NGO OceanCare’s President Sigrid Lueber warned that the oil explorations could have “severe socio-economic consequences in the fisheries and tourism sector”.

After pledging during his election campaign to begin new efforts to find oil, President Yameen’s government has claimed investor interest in the project, while a German research vessel carried out a seismic survey last August.

Speaking to Minivan News today, founder of local environmental NGO Ecocare, Maeed Zahir, said that the public does not take seriously the concerns put forward by local NGOs.

“Several people have questioned our technical expertise on oil exploration and used it as an excuse to dismiss our concerns,” said Maeed. “However, with several international NGOs speaking out against the exploration we hope it will be taken more seriously.”

The statement of concern was also sent to several members of the cabinet, including fisheries minister Dr Mohamed Shainee, tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb, economic development minister Mohamed Saeed, and environment minister Ahmed Thoriq.

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz said that only the president could comment on correspondence addressed personally to him, directing Minivan News to the relevant ministers for updates on the exploration project – none of whom were responding to calls at the time of publication.

The Maldives has also been included OceanCare’s silent oceans campaign. The NGO – which was granted Special Consultative Status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council in 2011 – is encouraging people to write to Adeeb urging an end to exploration.

Seismic impact

The NGO coalition’s statement of concern warned that exploration will have adverse effects on the Maldivian economy as a result of negative impacts on fisheries.

Seismic air guns – one of the most commonly used survey methods for offshore oil exploration – produce loud bursts of sound by introducing air into water at high pressure which then penetrates hundreds of kilometers into the earth’s crust.

OceanCare stated that the air guns produce a pulse of noise lasting 20 to 30 milliseconds, which is repeated an average of every 10 to 15 seconds, often for 24 hours a day.

“Three decades of controlled scientific studies leave no doubt that intense sound damages fish and impact fisheries,” said the Swiss NGO. “Ocean noise has a negative effect on at least 55 marine species.”

A recent study commissioned by the Namibian government revealed a sharp decline in catch as a result of increased seismic exploration in the Orange River Basin. The country’s tuna catch shrunk from 4,046 tons in 2011 to a mere 650 tons in 2013 after a shift in migratory routes.


Similarly, the Australian tuna industry has said the process may threaten the survival, abundance, or evolutionary development of native species or ecological communities.

Additionally, a recent study into the impacts of air guns on marine life ranked them as the second highest contributor of underwater noise caused by humans – only underwater nuclear detonations have been found to cause more.

The NGO statement also noted the adverse effects on marine biodiversity as a result of such surveys, pointing out that Maldivian tourism is heavily dependent on a healthy and diverse marine eco-system.

Tourism and fishing account for 90 percent of the Maldives’ GDP, while providing three-quarters of all employment and two thirds of foreign exchange earnings.

The government’s development plans include both a reduced reliance on tourism, as well as minimising the country’s dependence on imported fuel through the enhanced use of renewables. Imported fuel consumes around one third of the Maldives’ GDP.

Preliminary Research

Last year, the German research vessel ‘Sonne‘ – which came to the Maldives to conduct research into global warming – conducted preliminary research exploration free-of-charge on the government’s request.

While pointing out the importance of proper Environmental Impact Assessments in oil explorations, the coalition of environmental groups expressed concern that no such EIA or public consultation was undertaken prior to this research.

Speaking at the time, fisheries minister Dr Shainee said that explorations will be carried out in one of three areas which have properties suggesting the presence of oil and gas. The identified locations were located 100 miles east of the area between Laamu and Thaa atoll.

Shainee also said that the information obtained will be shared with the Maldives in the first quarter of 2015. He said that the data would not be shared with any third party, and that further explorations would follow to confirm any positive findings.

In February 2014, the Maldives National Oil Company Ltd – a subsidiary of the State Trading Organization – said it would soon begin advertising the country as a destination for oil exploration.

Speaking at the 18th Saarc Summit held last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India wishes to assist Maldives in its search for oil reserves, while cabinet members reported that oil exploration was on the agenda of the first China-Maldives joint commission on trade, held in December.

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EPA investigates pictures of alleged dolphin hunting

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched an investigation into images circulating on social media depicting five Maldivians posing for a picture while holding a dolphin.

EPA Director General Ibrahim Naeem said that the agency has found out the names of the individuals in the pictures, which he believes was taken in Faafu Atoll.

“This is a despicable event,” said Naeem. “We should not be touching these animals and should be trying to limit our interactions with them in order to preserve nature.”

He said he did not know whether the dolphin in the picture was released back in to the wild or was dead when the picture was taken.

The images have surfaced in the same week that the EPA launched a separate investigation into pictures showing the staff of a Maldivian safari boat and foreign tourists capturing endangered shark species.

Furamaana Travels – which operate the safari shown in the pictures – has told Minivan News that several protected species including sharks and sting rays were caught before being released back into the ocean after removing the lines and hooks.

However, the pictures prompted outrage as they appeared to show tourists and staff members posing for the camera while holding several of the animals.

Additionally, a 10 minute video showed how one shark was kept in one of the boat holds until it was deemed weak enough for the people to hold it for a picture.

“How would they know what they caught before they fish it out of the water?” asked a Furamaana staff member.

“As soon as it was discovered that endangered species were caught, the safari crew removed the hooks and line. They were released into the sea, unharmed.”

The EPA’s Naeem said today that it is necessary to take out the hook from a fish if it is accidentally caught on the line, in order to prevent infections and irreversible damage.

“However, we should be very careful as to how we do it,” he added.

Executive director at the environmental NGO Bluepeace Rilwan Ali commended the work being done by the EPA to protect the environment, and to bring perpetrators to justice.

“The EPA is proactively trying to take action regarding such issues,” said Rilwan. “Capturing such animals are illegal and adequate measures should be taken against them.”

Last month, local NGOs condemned images showing a turtle being cut in half for its eggs and meat, prompting the fisheries ministry to commence work on introducing stricter fines of up to MVR10 million (US$650,000) for illegal capture of turtles and tortoises.

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Safari operators in online picture controversy deny shark fishing

The operators of a Safari boat whose staff and visitors were pictured with endangered shark species have assured that they pay special attention to environmental conservation, denying that the images showed shark fishing.

Furamaana Travels – which operates the Bolero Safari boat – told Minivan News that several endangered and protected species including sharks and sting rays were caught before being released back into the ocean after removing the lines and hooks.

“How would they know what they caught before they fish it out of the water? As soon as it was discovered that endangered species were caught, the safari crew removed the hooks and line. They were released into the sea, unharmed”, said a Furamaana staff member.

Photos of a night-fishing trip on the boat have prompted outrage, as they appeared to show tourists and staff members holding several species of live shark – which are protected under Article 4 (a) of the Environment Protection Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Director General Ibrahim Naeem told Minivan News that it is currently contacting the relevant parties, including Furamaana Travels, to clarify information about the matter.

“We will only be able to take any steps after all facts surrounding the matter has been clarified. We will take action depending on the severity of the offence”, Naeem stated.

Ali Rilwan, Executive Director of local environmental NGO Bluepeace stated that the NGO does not feel the incident to be an issue “from a conservation point of view” as the caught animals were released back into the ocean.

“Safaris in Maldives operate in a very ethically correct manner, once caught they cannot just cut the line and release it, they have to remove the line and hook before doing so. Taking a photo before the release is not an issue, I do not see this in a negative light”, said Rilwan.

Local NGOs last month condemned images showing a turtle being cut in half for its eggs and meat, prompting the fisheries ministry to commence work on introducing stricter fines – up to MVR10 million (US$650,000) for illegal capture of turtles and tortoises.

Meanwhile, a ceremony was held today at EPA Agency to award the fishermen of Madduvari in Meemu Atoll for rescuing a stranded whale-shark from a shallow lagoon near Maduvvari Island.

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Addu High School wins Zayed Future Energy Prize

Addu High School has been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) for its achievements in promoting renewable energy and sustainability.

The US$100,000 reward – announced at an award ceremony in Adu Dhabi yesterday evening – was given after the school installed a 2.8kW solar project last year using funds from the UN’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme.

The school is now hoping to expand to a 45kW installation that will provide 100 percent of the school’s energy needs by the end of 2015.

“Currently, the school takes most of its power from the electricity grid. The aim of the project is to save the school money, earn money from the sale of surplus power and raise awareness of clean energy and sustainable development among pupils,” explained the prize’s official website.

The ZFEP was launched in 2008 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to commemorate the environmental advocacy of his father – himself posthumously awarded the UN’s Champions of the Earth award in 2005.

The annual US$4million prize fund is divided into five categories: large corporations, small and medium enterprises, NGOs, lifetime achievement awards, and global high schools.

US$500,000 for the high schools is divided into five US$100,000 awards for schools in the the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, with Addu High School chosen ahead of schools in Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka, and India.

The jury of selectors included Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, and former South Korean Prime Minister Dr Han Seung-Soo, as well former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.

“ZFEP’s achievements would surely bring tears of happiness to all Maldivians. Congratulations to Addu High School,” tweeted Nasheed.

Nasheed also congratulated former US Vice President Al Gore, who received the ZFEP lifetime achievement award yesterday.

Minister for Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim – in Abu Dhabi himself last weekend for the fifth session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – has also offered his congratulations.

The ministry revealed that discussions were to take place on the sidelines of the IRENA session regarding the start of practical work on a clean energy project to be funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).

The Dh22million (US$6 million) in concessionary loans was announced during last year’s IRENA session, with Maldivian media stating the Addu City had been confirmed as one of three areas where waste will be converted to clean energy for water desalination.

It was also announced in September that the government had a five-year target to generate 30 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources, though the government has also pledged to search for oil within the Maldives’ territorial waters.

Last month, the ministry completed installation of the country’s largest solar panel project, on the island of Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. The scheme is set to provide 50 percent of the island’s electricity needs.

A US$11 million 395 kW solar energy project funded by Japan was completed in the capital Malé last year, while a 100 percent solar-powered luxury resort called Gasfinolhu opens for business this month.

Diesel fuel accounts for the bulk of the energy supply in the Maldives, with electricity generation taking up around 40 percent. Petrol products also constitute one third of the country’s imports, amounting to around US$570 million in 2014.

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Saving the Kulhudhuffushi mangroves

In the mid-morning heat Latheefa Ahmed knelt thigh deep in the Kulhudhuffushi mangrove, head scarf muddy, long skirt tied beneath her buttocks as she buried coconut husks in a shallow muddy hole.

“This is the struggle we must put up for a few coins,” said the 58-year-old coir-rope weaver.

Latheefa usually leaves the coconut husks to soak in the mud for eight months. Once soft, the fibers are pounded, washed in salt water, dried in the sun, and hand woven into coir-rope or roanu, a product once famed for its strength and durability.

Roanu had been used in boat building, in the construction of homes and in the making of furniture. But now, it is mainly used as decoration in the country’s luxury resorts.

With the decline of the coir-rope industry and the move away from traditional ways of life, the majority of Kulhudhuffushi islanders see little use to the mangrove. The vast area is now used as a waste dump and islanders have proposed dredging the site for airport development or to give out plots of land.

The plight of the Kulhudhuffushi wetlands is indicative of lack of awareness of the essential eco services mangroves provide, from acting as habitats to birds and nurseries to fish, stabilising water tables, and enriching soil for agriculture, to protecting coast lines from tidal surges.

The neglect of mangrove ecosystems seems surprising as the Maldivian economy depends heavily on tourism, an industry that thrives on rich biodiversity.

Environmentalists have called for the introduction of new economic activities in mangroves such as preservation for local tourism or harvesting seafood on a commercial scale.

Asset or dump?

Executive Director of environmental NGO Bluepeace Ali Rilwan says mangroves are only second in biodiversity richness to coral reefs in the Maldives. Mangroves and wetlands act as carbon sinkholes, capturing twice the amount of carbon dioxide as other ecosystems, he said.

Lamenting the lack of research on Maldivian mangroves, Rilwan said atoll mangroves are different to those on the continental shelf as they exist in small patches on islands and boast a different variety of vegetation and wildlife.

Supporters of the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) have proposed the Kulhudhuffushi mangrove be filled in and developed into the airport promised by President Abdulla Yameen during the 2013 presidential elections.

Ali Hussein, a 50-year-old boat captain, said an airport was necessary to relieve high levels of unemployment on the island – the most populous in the North.

“There is no use to the mangrove. An airport will provide jobs. The only available jobs on the island right now are as cashiers at shops. At the Hanimadhoo airport, all the jobs go to people from Hanimaadhoo. They don’t hire graduates from Kulhudhuffishi,” he said.

Taxi driver Ahmed Nizar said Kulhudhuffushi islanders now pay MVR1500 (US$100) for a boat to Hanimadhoo, which is equivalent to a one-way air ticket from Hanimadhoo to Malé.

“When PPM asked us how can they get a majority in Kulhudhuffushi, we told them build us an airport. They agreed. Then I personally drew the pictures of the airport that you see on the walls of houses now,” he said proudly.

Those who oppose the venture — pointing out the airport 25 minutes away in Hanimaadhoo — propose the mangrove be filled in to give out plots of land for housing to ease population pressure.

No place for birds, turtles

However, for Kulhudhuffushi Councilor Mohamed Aiman, the mangrove is the “most important asset the island has”.

The council would not obstruct airport development on the island, Aiman said. But he believes the mangrove must be preserved for guesthouse tourism. Kulhudhuffushi lacks sandy beaches, and the mangrove is the only remaining site of untouched natural beauty, he said.

Local tourism would revive the coir-rope industry as well, Aiman said.

“When guests come to islands they would want to experience the culture and traditions of the island. This will have a positive effect on coir-rope making and haalu folhi [sweet crepe] production,” he said.

Bluepeace’s Rilwan blames the lack of awareness on the lack of research into mangroves, and said the biodiversity of mangroves must be documented for better conservation.

He has called for the introduction of new economic activities in mangroves such as the harvest of mud crabs to increase the economic value of the area.

Meanwhile, Director General at the Environmental Protection Authority, Ibrahim Naeem says Maldivians must reconsider their approach to development.

“Land is being reclaimed, mangroves filled in, reefs dynamited, for airports, for houses, for harbors without any thought to their environmental impacts. Large swathes of land have been reclaimed from the sea in several islands, but there is no demand for these lands. We have to consider what we are doing. We are destroying the very ecosystems tourism is dependent on,” he said.

“Islands and sandbanks are being leased out for economic activity. There are no sandbanks for the birds or the turtles. When we talk of sustaining tourism, we have to think about sustaining our biodiversity, protecting all of our living creatures.”

This article is part of an environmental journalism project supported by Banyan Tree Maldives.

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Environmental NGOs call for action as images of turtle slaughter surface

Warning: This article contains graphic images.

Local environmental NGOs Ecocare and Bluepeace have condemned images circulating on social media showing a turtle being cut in half for its eggs and meat.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and police are now investigating the pictures.

Ecocare has demanded “immediate action from relevant authorities to stop such atrocities against protected marine species in the country”, in a statement which also said the NGO was “outraged by the lack of adequate enforcement measures in place”.

The pictures which were shared on Facebook show a group of people cutting open an adult sea turtle and extracting its eggs and meat. Local media outlet Sun Online has reported that the pictures were taken on the island of Maalhos in Alif Alif Atoll.

Maalhos Island Council has expressed concern over the incident but has said it was not aware that the pictures originated from the island.

Sun reported council Vice President Ahmed Sameeh as saying that it was common for islanders to hunt turtles and that the council has repeatedly requested citizens to stop.

Bluepeace Executive Director Rilwan Ali told Minivan News that the main obstruction to preventing such instances was poor institutional coordination between the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and the EPA.

“The biggest problem is that turtle conservation comes under the fisheries law which is implemented by the fisheries ministry. The ministry has to share its resources with the EPA so that these kinds of events can be prevented,” said Rilwan.

Speaking on behalf the EPA, Director General Ibrahim Naeem said that these kinds of events could have a negative impact on the tourism of the country as well as long term effects on the economy, while highlighting the need for stricter punishments for such environmental crimes.

According to the fisheries regulations, the “catching, fishing, collecting or killing” of sea turtles is illegal throughout the country. The collection of sea turtles and eggs is also illegal, but only in 14 of the country’s 1,192 islands.

The current moratorium is set to last until 2016 thoug reports of turtle slaughter persist. Earlier this year, one source estimated that up to 180 turtles were killed from a single island in Shaviyani Atoll in 2013.

“There is a well-known nesting island and every night a group is going and hunting the turtles. It is so obvious, every day since January one or two are killed,” said the informed source. “They wait for them to nest on the island, or go snorkeling to hunt them.”

While speaking to Minivan News in April this year, Sam Hope – Marine Discovery Centre Manager at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa – said that the biggest threat to turtles is egg collection and trade.

Meanwhile, turtle conservation expert Dr Agnese Mancini has reported a decline in the population of  the majority of turtle species found in the Maldives.

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