Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sustainable Fishing

Local Fishing Boat

As a result of the over fishing in the waters of the Maldives various policies has been implemented by government and individual resorts.

The Baa Atoll Conservation Project was set up to protect the marine environment of the Maldives as it faces increasing pressure from a number of areas:
       Global warming and coral bleaching;
       Pollution and discarded waste;
       Over fishing and unsound fishing practices;
       Tourism and the souvenir trade.
While most of these issues are global and need to be targeted on an international and national level, local actions that help preserve the Maldivian marine biodiversity and promote environmentally sound practices are just as important and needed.
Since 2007, General Managers, Biologists and Dive Centre leaders of all six tourist resorts in Baa Atoll regularly meet to discuss and action environmental issues of concern. I attended my first meeting in January 2011 as our marine biologist Kate Wilson thought having a Permaculturist view would be beneficial for the group especially with regard to waste management in the Atoll.
       The focus lies particularly on the protection of disappearing shark populations in the atoll. While a total ban on shark fishing and trade in the Maldives was lawed in 2010

Sustainable  Fishing To Protect All

Work is also done on the following:
       The protection of manta rays and their habitat;
       The review of night fishing practices;
       The enforcement of minimum catch sizes of fish and lobsters;
       Alternatives for the sale of endangered species;
       Educational programmes for guests, hosts and local islanders.
The concerted efforts of the Baa Atoll resorts have caused the government to take environmental issues such as shark protection more seriously and have improved the cooperation amongst resorts.

Mike Rigging Up A Floating Lure

At Soneva Fushi there is a sustainable fishing policy. No bottom line fishing is in place to stop damage to the reefs and only day fishing is held to avoid anchors damaging the coral reefs too.

The latest initiative run by Kate Wilson the resident marine biologist was to hold a catch and release training programme for the hosts in water sports and other areas of the resort that come in contact with guests wanting to fish

Waiting to Catch

The training was held by Mike an accredited catch and release trainer from Singapore who has been a professional fisherman for many years and has seen the evidence of over fishing throughout the world



Happy Fisherman And Fish

Theory classes were held then fishing trips undertaken for practical on the job release training. Once the hosts had completed both components of the programme they were then accredited with the handing out of their certificates at the March Host Party.

Released Successfully 

This experience has highlighted to me that we can not only think of the land as Permaculturist there are so many more aspects to the role of a Permaculturist when we work or live on the edge of two coexisting eco systems. As it is said “Coral Reefs are the Rainforests of the Sea” and the more we can turn “Waste into Wealth” on land and avoid polluting our “Rainforests of the Sea” we will see abundance again leading to fair share for all.

Maybe we need to remind ourselves that:

Ethic 1 : Care for the Earth includes the sea.

I know I have been guilty of forgetting when in the past living so far away from it.

Rainforest Below

1 comment:

  1. Sustainable fishing is extremely important, and we commend your efforts to promote best practices. We only have one Earth, and we need to treat it with respect. These photos are beautiful, by the way!