Coral Bleaching Response Plan

Coral bleaching due to increased water temperatures is among the most pressing climate change related threats to coral reefs and one of three major threats to tourism in the Maldives. Severe bleaching events can have major ecological and economic impacts to small island nations that rely on reefs for food or income via fisheries or tourism. Tourism in the Maldives can play an important role in the local conservation and restoration of reefs with many resorts directly hiring or hosting marine biologists.

Although coral reef managers are unable to mitigate the main cause of mass bleaching, a response plan allows managers to respond effectively and quickly to document and understand mass bleaching events. In 2016 we implemented a Bleaching Response Plan to provide a holistic framework response for the monitoring, management and restoration of coral reefs within the vicinity of Banyan Tree operations. This plan also outlines a focussed strategy with which to measure efficacy of restoration efforts versus natural reef recovery.

Based on established and proven bleaching response plans adopted in the Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii and Florida, the objectives of this plan are achieved through four primary stages with routine tasks informing when to implement responsive tasks. While these tasks are not a panacea for bleaching, they contribute towards strengthening coral reef management through advancing scientific understanding, rapid targeted restoration, communication and stewardship. This response plan is designed to use existing expertise and resources with no additional financial support and outlines how people can contribute to the continuation of one the world’s most incredible natural wonders through our well established restoration programme.

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