Former President Mohamed Nasheed has stated if Maldives can identify why schools of manta rays migrate to Hanifaru in Baa atoll on an annual basis and share those findings with prospective tourists, the country could generate a better income. The former president made the statement at the inaugural function of the Manta Festival held at Dharavandhoo in Baa Atoll.
Addressing the inaugural function of the first ever function of its kind held in Maldives, former president Mohamed Nasheed reminisced how the allocation of Baa atoll as a UNESCO biosphere reserve was an initiative he led in 2010, during his administration. Nasheed said that his administration aimed to locate such sites which cultured unique plants and animals and protect those sites.
With the approval of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the Manta Trust, in association with Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Maldives, is carrying out research into the manta ray population in Maldives and aim to publish their findings on an annual basis.
Addressing the function, Nasheed noted the sacrifices of the people of Baa Atoll in allowing the allocation of the atoll as a UNESCO biosphere reserve. However, he stated that now, the people would have realised their sacrifice was worthwhile.
At the function, the former president distributed awards for the winners of the photography and drawing competitions held to coincide with the Manta Festival. He also visited the 22 stalls at the festival.
The Manta Festival is a joint effort by the Manta Trust, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru Maldives, Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve, Baa Atoll Council and Dharavandhoo Island Council.