In January 2020, Noo Raajje set off on an unprecedented expedition to study coral reef health, fish and benthic populations, and water quality across the atolls of the Maldives. Led by the Maldives Marine Research Institute, the Waitt Institute, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, this expedition worked to better understand the health of the ocean environment across the archipelago. This data will inform a Marine Spatial Plan in the Maldives and help to make a longterm plan to protect the underwater life and resources upon which all Maldivians rely.
Building upon the extensive research from the Government and the Maldives Marine Research Institute, this expedition surveyed 16 atolls over 26 days.
A second expedition was completed in early 2021 to create the first archipelago-wide assessment of the Maldives.
16 ATOLLS SURVEYED
978 SCIENCE DIVES
274,004 INDIVIDUAL FISH COUNTED
80 IUCN REDLIST SPECIES OBSERVED
“From fisheries to tourism to our way of life, the ocean is a key part of each Maldivian. We are excited that this expedition will build upon existing research being done by the government to explore the sustainable use of the ocean.”
Maldives Marine Research Institute
Haa Dhaalu Atoll
President Ibrahim Solih, the Speaker of Parliament and former President, Mohamed Nasheed, and the Minister of Fisheries Marine Resources and Agriculture, Zaha Waheed, joined the scientific team along Neykurendhoo Island in Haa Dhaalu Atoll. They joined scientists underwater at the reefs of Keylakunu to witness how the 3-D mapping captures imagery of coral reefs, and to enjoy the marine habitat of Keylakunu, an island, and reef that was protected by President Solih in 2018 under the 1 Island, 1 Reef, 1 Mangrove Initiative.
The expedition team visited the island of Hirilandhoo in Thaa Atoll, Maldives to share with the Hirilandhoo School the science conducted. Hana Amir of the Maldives Marine Research Institute spoke on the ocean research and monitoring that is already being done in the Maldives, while other team members shared coral reef research, water sampling techniques, and the importance of protecting such unique environments.