Marine areas near Addu City to be protected
The protected marine areas are the Kandi-Hera Maakandu channel and the British Loyalty shipwreck.
There will be two protected marine areas near Addu City and a visitor’s fee will be charged after six months, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.
The Kandi Hera Maakandu channel is one of four into Addu City – a distinctive atoll comprising islands connected by causeways and link roads.
The British Loyalty shipwreck is a World War Two-era oil tanker that was used by the British to supply the RAF base in S.Gan. She was torpedoed by a German submarine in March 1944.
According to Peter Doling – a former education officer at RAF Gan – she was kept anchored inside the lagoon and used as a storage dump for two years after the attack. In January 1946, the tanker was scuttled in the lagoon just off of Maradhoo and is now a popular dive site.
A regulation on conserving and sustaining the protected areas in Addu City was published last month.
The EPA’s announcement urged those diving, snorkelling, or engaging in other water sports to avoid damaging the area’s flora and fauna.
A visitor’s fee will be charged in six months time and the revenue will go towards conservation of the area and environment protection efforts in Addu City.
The EPA has flexed its muscle since President Abdulla Yameen’s resounding defeat in September’s election, fining ministries for breaking environmental laws. It also declared the protection of three biodiversity hotspots across the Maldives earlier this month.
Yameen’s administration was criticised by activists for the large-scale dredging of lagoons, and the reclamation of the Kulhudhuffushi mangrove.