In the sparkling azure seas of South Male Atoll, the coral gardens surrounding Annatara’s three Maldivian islands are beginning to flourish. A recent field study by marine biologist Dr. Andy Bruckner revealed that rehabilitation efforts have encouraged extraordinary growth across the coral nurseries of Anantara Veli Maldives Resort, Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort and Naladhu Private Island
The news comes three years into the pioneering five-year HARP programme (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection), funded by donations from Anantara guests through the Dollars for Deeds initiative. The programme focuses on maintaining and expanding coral nurseries around the lagoon, planting healthy nursery corals onto damaged reefs and growing the corals within the Aqua Bar snorkel trail while closely monitoring the health of reefs further afield to build an accurate picture of the Maldives’ coral health.
Dr. Bruckner, chief scientist of the HARP programme, reported up to 15 centimetres of coral growth over the last year in the resorts’ nurseries. To grow the nurseries, fragments of rescued coral are carefully attached to ropes and tables in positions where they are most likely to thrive. Guests are also invited to take part in a hands-on experience of replanting the corals in this way.
Four coral nurseries shimmer beneath the surface of the lagoon – Aqua Bar, Advanced Snorkel Area, Veli lagoon and Dhigu House Reef. All showed impressive growth, with up to 1,000 times the coral biomass that existed when the programme began, with almost 1,500 new corals planted.
“The Maldives is highly dependent on its breathtaking and world famous coral reefs, not just for tourism but for industries such as fishing,” says John Roberts, Director of Conservation for Minor Hotels. “Coral reef programmes such as HARP play a fundamental role in food provision, shoreline protection, tourism revenue and ultimately the enjoyment of guests visiting Anantara Maldives.”
The reefs and coral gardens of Anantara Maldives are home to a vast and colourful spectrum of marine life, including clownfish, parrot fish, reef sharks and different species of shoal fish, with turtles, eagle rays and dolphins frequent visitors to the lagoon.
Nightly rates at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort start from £474 on a B&B basis.
Nightly rates at Anantara Veli Maldives Resort start from £570 in an Over Water Bungalow on a bed & breakfast basis.
Nightly rates at Naladhu Private Island Maldives start from £997 in an Ocean House with Pool on a bed & breakfast basis.