Maldives Marine Projects

Why is IUCN working in the Maldives?

The Maldives is truly a special place, with a rich culture, gorgeous vistas and spectacular marine life. Even with 1190 islands, land is still the scarcest resource in the country, making up less than 1% of its surface area. As one of the lowest lying countries in the world (mean 1.5 m), the country and its people are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts such as sea level rise, coral reef bleaching and mortality, ocean acidification, and increases in severe weather events. Importantly, the Maldives archipelago represents a globally unique ecoregion and species biogeography. Given the outstanding characteristics mentioned, the Maldives was announced as 1 of 50 Hope Spots in the world by IUCN and Mission Blue. It is clear that the future of the people and the marine resources in the Maldives is of global significance and interest.

Tourism is the main driving force of the Maldives’ economy accounting for more than 30% of GDP, followed by the fishing industry. Both these industries are highly dependent on the pristine nature of the marine environment. However, coral reefs in the Maldives are facing severe and multiple pressures, including over-fishing, pollution and sedimentation.

Whether you are born in the Maldives or have the luck and opportunity to visit and live here, it is clear that there is a strong appreciation of its marine natural heritage by all. Such recognition of the importance of the marine resources leads to a commitment to find innovative ways to protect and manage it for future generations to appreciate and utilise.

The objectives of the IUCN Maldives Marine Projects were developed to address the environmental priorities and challenges that the Maldives faces. They include enhancing coral reef resilience (both social and ecological), supporting climate change adaptation, advancing marine species management and increasing environmental awareness across different sectors. These are ambitious but urgent priorities that require vision, dedication, perseverance and commitment by many individuals, groups and stakeholders of society in order to address them.


Whale Shark and Manta Ray Conservation

Whale sharks and manta rays are on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable meaning that they are in decline. The Maldives harbor significant aggregations of these species, allowing studies and wildlife viewing opportunities, and calling for adequate protection measures

Read more

Maldives Marine Turtles and the ghost nets removal project

Charismatic marine species in the Maldives also include sea turtles and we are working with Maldives governmental agencies to improve their monitoring. Most species of marine turtles are on the decline. One of the treats they face is entanglement in lost or discarded fishing nets. Discover a citizen-science project that tackles the problem.

Read more

Project REGENERATE - Reefs Generate Environmental and Economic Resilience for Atoll Ecosystems

Enhancing Resilience of social-ecological coral reef systems in the Maldives, Project REGENERATE engages locals to become citizen-scientists and to gather data on reef health and fisheries, in support of the Government of the Maldives goal to achieve a Biosphere designation and to protect the archipelago’s future.

Find out more about this project
Coral reefs 14, Koh Bon island, Thailand
Whale shark and manta ray project
  • Click to read more on this project
  • Click to read more on this project
Project REGENERATE fact sheet