The Maldives is renowned as an island nation, blessed abundantly with magnificent underwater sceneries and diverse marine life. The country’s socio-economic development has been highly dependent on our oceans, as a means of sustenance, and support to our economy. Our major economic industries, most notably tourism and fisheries, are dependent on the oceans. Thus, this World’s Ocean Day, let us pay tribute to our ocean for sustaining our small archipelago since the time of our ancestors. Let us explain to our readers, why the ocean is so close to the heart of every Maldivian, the scions of the seas.
The ancient trade route
Mediaeval traders and seafarers from all over the world discovered Maldives because we lie directly in a major trade route. Maldivian islands were used as hubs for cargo vessels to replenish water, wood, coir, and food supplies. Even today, trade vessels often use the Maldives as a port for refuelling or to conduct minor repairs on their vessels. The ocean is how we connected with the world back then, and it is still the reason we remain on the radar as a hub for regional and global trade.
From Sustenance to Prosperity
Fisheries began in the country as a means of sustenance and traditional livelihood for our ancestors. While fisherfolk used the abundant oceans to put food on the tables for their families, they soon realised the potential to make this an economically viable industry, exporting the various types of tuna and other fish found abundantly in our EEZ. Today, fisheries is the second largest industry of the nation. Fish and fish products are consistently attributed as the highest exported commodity from the Maldives - Earth’s oceans give in abundance, we are always thankful and considerate for her blessings. The Maldivian fisheries industry only uses environmentally-friendly methods, such as pole-and-line fishing and one-by-one fishing. Our sustainable fisheries practices are our way of giving back to nature.
The Sea completes the allure of the Maldives
Our world-renowned destination is built on the ocean that blesses our islands. The colours and hues of our vast oceans, the magical beauty of the underwater is what makes the Maldives such an alluring destination. It’s the panoramic view from the plane window; the scattered overwater villas on top of the aqua waters; and the underwater spas and restaurants which makes our destination so enticing. This is truly a paradise for lovers of the ocean, for those who seek to be one with nature, both in and around the ocean.
Brimming with life and oceanic adventures
If you love the ocean, there is no limit to the experiences you can have here in the Maldives. From swimming in shallow waters, snorkelling on rich coral reefs, scuba diving with colourful fishes, deep diving to explore the depth of the ocean, or participating in a thrilling water sports activity: we’ve got something for everyone. The Maldives has many dive spots, brimming with unimaginably gorgeous coral reefs and marine creatures. A Maldives vacation also means that there are unlimited watersports activities, from riding jet skis, glass bottom boats and canoes, to catamaran sailing, kite surfing, and even parasailing for the adventurous. You could stay in a resort, hotel, guesthouse or liveaboard and get to enjoy any of these activities. The rich biodiversity of our sea provides a whole new world for those who seek adventure under the sea. The Maldives is blessed with over two hundred species of corals, over a thousand species of fish, four hundred species of mollusks and three-hundred and fifty species of marine crustaceans. Experiences in the Maldives frequently include dolphin spotting during sunset cruises, swimming with manta rays, swimming, spotting a whale shark from a distance.
Giving back to the ocean
Perhaps our story is similar to that of other small island nations, which is dependent on the ocean for livelihood and food. But the adverse effects of climate change are posing major threats to this blessing. Coral reefs are dying, some species are vanishing from our oceans, and many are on the cusp of going extinct. This is why, now more than ever, we need to protect and conserve our oceans, as it is the hand that feeds us. We owe it to our nation, the visitors, and our progeny, to act responsibly, to adapt and make environmentally-conscious decisions to conserve our seas, its biota, and its ecosystems.
We have one ocean, one planet, one future – we’re all in this together. The time to act to protect and conserve our oceans is now.