Extending across the expansive Laccadives Sea, the Maldives is a country of atolls; small coral islands encircled by azure lagoons. Surrounded by the vastness of the ocean, the South Male Atoll, like the rest of the country, is vulnerable to extreme weather as well as the effects of global warming. In 1998 more than 90 percent of shallow coral reefs in the Maldives died when El Niño, a climatic phenomenon, raised sea temperatures by 4°C. It was enough to stress the coral and to release the microscopic algae that give them their kaleidoscopic colours, so the reef bleached. The coral has begun to regenerate since suffering from the bleaching event, however future temperature fluctuations threaten its survival.
In June 2010 our resorts and Aquafanatics created a coral nursery on the Anantara Dhigu island to recover and replace broken coral in the lagoon. The lagoon hides beautiful reefs, but also has sandy patches. This long term project will reduce the impact on the reef and allow smaller reefs to develop.
In 2011 Anantara – the first resort operator in the Maldives to have all its resorts Green Globe Certified – and Aquafanatics embarked on an ambitious project to reposition the corals in the lagoon. Under the supervision and expert guidance of our resident Marine Biologist, nine divers spent nineteen hours removing over 450 different coral species and relocating them onto purpose built iron frames. The frames are environmentally friendly and designed to promote the flow of water and nutrients and are covered in sand to encourage coral to grow faster than it normally would. The frames were strategically positioned on an existing coral reef close to Anantara Dhigu’s over water suites, allowing for a natural expansion of the existing reef.