Survey underway to identify damages to reefs from anchors

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a local NGO have commenced a survey to identify the damages sustained on reefs due to anchoring of fishing vessels.

The two year project, titled the “Boasa Project”, is carried out as part of the UNDP Small Grant Programme, under the assistance of the Global Environment Facility. The NGO, “Maldivian Fishermen”, along with UNDP commenced the survey in the reefs of Huvadhu Atoll.

As part of the survey, information has been collected on 6 reefs of Huvadhu Atoll. In addition, boasas have been installed in 4 reefs located east of Dhevvadhoo, Gaafu Alifu Atoll. Boasa is a device used for anchorage of vessels.

The Maldivian fishermen’s organisation stated the aim of the project is to limit the damages incurred on reefs during vessel anchorage. He said the project will help to protect the reefs, and revive the population of different species living on the reefs.

Fishermen believe the installation of boasas will bring many benefits to fishing vessels. As such, fishermen have noted this would eliminate the dangerous accidents that happen while anchoring vessels to the reefs.

Due to the increase of fishing vessels in the Maldives, the issue of coral bleaching has become more prominent during recent years. The main objective of the Boasa Project is to identify the changes which occur within the reefs due to fishing activity and establish mitigation measures to protect the reefs.