Hudhufushi – Dhiffushimaadhoo Area Should be Declared as Nature Reserve

During the last few years, we have been witnessing a rapid human encroachment on the terrestrial vegetation, reef and wetland ecosystems of uninhabited islands and inhabited islands in the Maldives. Impacts on these islands in the Maldives are unprecedented, their scale and speed alarming. Habour dredging, channel blasting with dynamite and massive reclamation projects – many without proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – are in progress. Never before have we seen such a scale of coastal modification and change in the topography of islands of the Maldives.

hudhufushi-island.jpg
Hudhufushi Island of Lhaviyani Atoll

The Maldives is a party to the Biodiversity Convention, Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Under these treaties the Maldives has obligations to ensure the conservation and protection of habitats and species in both national and international context.

Of course, in order to meet these national and international obligations the Government has declared some protected marine areas and few terrestrial sites. These designated protected sites are poorly managed and monitored. These sites are declared protected on papers. Some argue these marine protected areas are protected for divers. Thousands of divers go diving in these designated marine areas annually; their impact on the fragile coral ecosystems still need to be assessed.

There are instances where islands with rich biodiversity and ecological significance are selected for industrial activities such as tourism. The use of such islands for industrial purposes causes negative environmental impacts on the islands and loss of rich natural biodiversity for the country. Such a classic example is Hudhufushi island of Lhaviyani Atoll, selected for development as a tourist resort. Hudhufushi, with a unique V-shape forming a natural bay, makes it one of the richest islands in marine biodiversity in the Maldives. Baby sharks and rays flourish in that area.

Hudhufushi and Dhiffushimaadhoo are located in the same lagoon. It is one of the richest natural heritage sites in the Maldives. In fact these islands are still evolving; in the case of Dhifushimaadhoo, it was originally four islands, namely, Dhiffushi, Maadhoo, Shalhlhifushi and Hiriyaadhoo.

hudhufushi-location.jpg

Hudhufushi-Dhifushimaadhoo area should be left intact from human encroachment and preserved as natural heritage for benefit of present and future generation.

Bluepeace had raised concerns in the past about impacts on island biodiversity and ecosystems from the selection of uninhabited islands for tourism and other industrial activities.

http://www.bluepeacemaldives.org/news2007/coastal_vegetation.htm

http://travelvideo.tv/news/more.php?id=8952_0_1_0_M109

17 Comments »

  1. Ibrahim said,

    February 13, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

    Well, recent years we all the time hear or read that Maldives is going to be sinking or islands in the Maldives are eroding due to climate change and subsequent sea level rise. For that matter, Dhiffushimaadhoo is an interesting island. This is the first time I read that that some of the islands are growing rather than sinking or eroding away. As you say Dhiffushimaadhoo was four islands, now these islands have joined, still growing. Not sinking, we should leave Dhiffushimaadhoo untouched to see how big it can grow during the sea level rise era. This could be an interesting specimen to scientists.

    Ibrahim

  2. Fen said,

    February 14, 2008 @ 7:18 am

    Thanks to BluePeace for documenting these stories which otherwise would be untold.
    In the interest of bridging the gap between environmentalists such as yourself, and profit based industries such as Tourism, maybe the solution is to get the Tourism industry to adopt these policies as eco-tourism to make further profit?

  3. Shafeeg said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

    Thank you Blue Peace for voicing environmental concerns. Now adays we only see economic development as ‘the only’ thing which the country requires. As you say, unless these issues are raised, Maldives may not have anything to show off in Tourism. Yes money talks, but we need to preserve our existence before anything else.

  4. Ahmed Naseer said,

    February 16, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    I felt so nice after reading your artcle. Yes exeactly Hudhufushi-Dhifushimaadhoo area should be left intact from human encroachment and preserved as natural heritage for benefit of present and future generation. If we don’t make it a reality today to preserve a number of similar sites around the Maldives, in the next 10 years there will not be the natural beauty of the original island. This is very important to Sustain the demand of tourism. Needless to say the real tourism in the Maldives is just begining in it’s fullest. There is still a long way to go in the development of Eco tourism in observing the natural beauty of our beautiful islands and it’s surroundings. This is the only assets we have

  5. Gaseous said,

    February 16, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

    Many people from Faadhippolhu dreams that one day in a near future, the people of Faadhippolhu would be living in Dhiffushmaidhoo where we would have facilities like Airport, Seaport and other socio-economic activities flourishing in the area. These are the only islands in the atoll suitable for the purpose of centralized governance.
    Not only can the people of this atoll, but other small islands also accommodate in these islands. Also this group of islands has a common shallow reef of 17 miles in length; very ideal for future expansion by reclamation.
    It’s really sad that these islands are selected for the wrong purpose. These islands can be converted into a profitable industrial zone catering Noonu, Raa and Lh. Atoll.

  6. verbatim said,

    February 17, 2008 @ 7:59 am

    I been wondering about hudhufushi for two years, this island must be preserved as a bird santuary and also it seems that mantas breeds in the the enclosed (inside the v-shape) portion of the lagoon (mostt probably a mangrove), this is well known through out laviyani atoll, and i am happy the fact that this island have not been able to be developed as a tourist resort. even if this island is to be developed as a resort everyone should urge the government to preserve this island as a protected area. instead this island could be used for maldives nature observatory and can be used positively towards maldives.

    if this island is to be developed as a tourist resort, we must act in changing the governments decision, even if its to market against any party wishing to operate this island as a tourist resort, today’s world is more environmentally aware and is much more concern, so should not be that difficult. Environmental group can lobby localy and overseas discouraging tourist to travel to these sort of signicant island hence advicing any investors not to destroy this great natural marvel.

    President Maumoon loves giving speeches about global warming and sea level rise, but he does not seem to see the importance of identifying and protecting island such as these. this country always talk about sustainable tourism, THEY ACTUALLY MEANS BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM, appearantly nothing related to environment this is what they hide from us and from the rest of the world. I can go on talking about unethical practices of some resorts to the environment which i have witnessed over the years.

  7. -whOiswhO said,

    February 17, 2008 @ 2:20 pm

    i totally agree with BluePeace! it was mid of the year 2000… i personally worked in the bidding team which was the winning bidder “pssst pssst i shouldn’t call him as a winner” they where so sure that they will win! personal calls from “golha” was also noted! grrrrrrrrrrr.. that was past… well, my first impression about the island was not to built as a resort island.. and i did voice also, had a long conversation with tourism ministry.. that was the reason why in the proposal some environment “shit” was focused on the one side of the island. i call it “shit” coz it was planned for dream purpose, simply not true!

    i just cant recall how many copies of the bid proposal where made and send to most rich people in the world ” States to Aussy, to Saudi to Russia…” i have seen investors… investing on the island, good that the owner invested the money US$2.3 million on SnowRose. at the island some rooms where built and finally the construction was dismissed cox of the funds.

    So all are good signs… that still the island is kept safe! lets pray that the hudhufushi be as hudhufushi!

    ends-

  8. Fenfulhangi said,

    February 17, 2008 @ 10:14 pm

    This is a great issue to tackle…an example of the recklessness of our tourism ministry in its haste to generate revenue.This is not the only island that has been stripped of its natural beauty and preservation efforts.Our Biodiversity is at a threat. Species are going extinct. Dhivehi Kambili is almost gone.Will we just wait and look while everything else gives way to tourism and cement life style?

  9. Fen said,

    February 18, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

    Fenfulhangi,
    So what do you propose? Unless we have viable alternatives that bring in money and unless we come up with an alternative that is in the best interests of all involved, I really don’t see how we can proceed.
    There are too many issues to tackle. That’s the problem. There aren’t that many people who are focused on solving one issue.
    Bluepeace, Would you be interested in hiring interns for more in-depth documentation of the issues you talk about?

  10. Natha said,

    February 18, 2008 @ 10:33 pm

    It is indeed relieving to see an organisation such as the Bluepeace fighting the good fight. We have seen the tourism industry develop drastically in the past 5 years. The pristine beaches and the natural waters are the main source of attraction, without doubt. The word “untouched” can no longer be used in describing these once truly untouched islands. What happened to the “protected zones”? It is really sad to see all these being washed out – virgin islands being pressured to survive an economic slump.

    We have forgotten what enticed tourists from all around the world to visit these islands, we have lost our simplicity. The government promotes ‘sustainability’ from the one hand and allocates a dozen islands for tourism development without taking into consideration our lack of infrastructure, manpower and transportation development.

    The dire state of the tourism industry is yet to surface. In addition to the threat to the environment, we need to seriously think about preserving our culture, which plays an equally important role in our heritage.

  11. Fenfulhangi said,

    March 1, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

    Fen
    there are many areas the tourism ministry can be focusing on ..eg:
    1-Cultural Tourism [of course we have to create it]
    2-Water sports [extreme sports]
    3-Eco tourism
    4-Spiritual Holidays
    and a lot more ways than to strip these islands of natural habitats for many a creatures…
    thank you

  12. mohamed said,

    March 2, 2008 @ 1:22 am

    this is very true as per hudhufushi and dhifushimaadhoo. hudhufushi is very unique interms of its natural shape as compare to the other island of the maldives. it is a heaven for other creatures especially birds and fishes. we have lot more islands suitable for industrial developments rather then destorying the natual habitats of important sea creatures.

  13. BLUEPEACE blog » CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF LOVE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT said,

    September 13, 2009 @ 6:40 am

    [...] However, we regret that islands and areas of equally important ecological significance, such as Hudhufushi and Dhiffushimaadhoo area, have not been protected to [...]

  14. kandufalhu said,

    January 9, 2010 @ 9:02 am

    Hey, why dont you all take up this trend again..? Very true that we have lost our focus on tourism in the Maldives. The leading entrepreneurs in the tourism industry got hypnotised by the dollar sign and created money machines. The next generation sold out to foreign investers. today, we are left with nothing to preserve or sell. The Tourism giants are focussing on other countries. They have no compassion towards this paradise anymore. Now, everyone wants to sell everything to anyone as fast as they can. This policy is now the main policy adopted by the government as well. So guys, resume your trend and make a worthy cause. ALL THE BEST!

  15. Khadeeja Hameed said,

    June 20, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

    I am proud of my atoll and this unique island from my atoll Lhaviyani,

    You may not seen like this kind of islands in Maldives, but we have seen such as like Kanuhura before it was lot of turtles are coming for laying eggs, and i have seen by my eyes that the turtles gone water, but that was my childhood time, but now my heart was crying for that place, and now Kanuhura is tourist resort. how sad it. all the turtles lost their own home. now there are no more turtles coming to lay the egg, they are afraid of that.

    Than why the goverment talking about the enviroment protuct or the save the turtles.

    I realy hate about this nature to selling for small amount of dollars,

    I wish and pray for hudhufushi will noy happen for that. may allah save the hudhufushi and our atoll toooo…………………………………

  16. Khadeeja Hameed said,

    June 21, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Thanks, Bluepeace,

    and please try to help to save the unique Island of Hudhufushi, it may be future one of the biggest islnad in Maldives.

    May Allah Bless to save the Island of Hudhufushi in my Atoll

  17. latest news said,

    July 21, 2011 @ 12:19 am

    Maldives Tourism Ministry renews agreement for new Hudhufushi resort

    MALE, March 31 (HNS) – The Tourism Ministry has renewed the agreement made with Abdu Rauf of Maafannu Snow Rose, to develop a resort in Hudhufushi in the Lhaviyani atoll, and granted a 12-year delay to begin paying the US$85 million (Rf1.09 billion) debt to the state.

    The Tourism Ministry renewed the agreement after filing a court case after the lessee failed to develop the resort and pay rent from July 1, 2002.

    Haveeru requested the ministry to provide details of the agreement renewal, but failed to get additional details of the ministry’s decision, apart from an official confirming the matter.

    Reliable sources, however, confirmed to Haveeru that Rauf was given four years to complete the development of the resort in two phases – two years given to complete the first phase, which includes 75 rooms. The lessee has to begin paying the rent of the resort after the two years.

    The new agreement states that the pending rent and fine, which amounts up to some Rf1 billion, should be paid starting from the 11th year that the rent should be paid.

    Haveeru understands that the ministry also delayed the rent of the first two years, an additional three months, and an additional two years.

    The agreement states that it would be terminated if the lessee fails to pay two payments of US$750,000 (a total of US$1.5 million) before June 1 and December 1 of this year.

    The ministry reportedly granted a delay to pay US$3 million out of the rent of four years and an additional three months until March 27, 2015, and an option to pay the amount within a four-year period.

    Haveeru also learnt that the Tourism Ministry took the decision as the ministry saw that it could not win the court case.

    Rf976.6 million, out of the Rf1.09 billion debt, is the fine for the lessee’s failure to pay the rent – the highest single amount of debt out of the Rf1.5 billion, according to the government’s figures.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment