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Coral Bleaching in Maldives - How Widespread is the Problem?

Discussion in 'Maldives' started by ontdiver, Aug 20, 2020.

  1. ontdiver

    ontdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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    Thinking about a post COVID LOB trip and was wondering whether coral bleaching in Maldives is localized or widespread...and if the former, whether any of the LOB operators have managed to establish itineraries that avoid problem areas.
     
  2. Jake 10

    Jake 10 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Herndon, VA
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    According to Coral Reff CPR, they found that bleaching of the most sensitive corals started in March 2016, and by mid-April entire reef systems throughout the country were stark white. MRC said in May 2019 that the Maldives has been classified at the ‘watch’ level by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Activities that contribute to slower recovery of bleached corals include; dredging, land reclamation, and beach nourishment
     
    ontdiver likes this.
  3. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
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    I was there in 2018, at a research center of the University of Milan-Bicocca, called MARHE:
    MaRHE Center
    They are running a coral restoration program, with a nursery of heat-resistent coral, which later is transplanted for re-colonizing bleached reefs.
    Bleaching has affected strongly Maldives, and most reefs are now entirely dead. Coming back to Maldives after decades (my previous time was in 1989) the effect was dramatic.
    Reefs which were colourful and plenty of life are now entirely white or grey, and most small fish is gone.
    Still in some sites there is plenty of large pelagic fish, but the coral gardens which made them famous in the seventies and in the eighties are entirely gone.
    I suppose that LOBs focus on sites where you can see large pelagic fish, and I see good photographic reports showing that this is still possible.
    But if you instead are looking for colourful reefs, as the old photos of past century show, you will have big troubles of finding them intact...
     
  4. ontdiver

    ontdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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    Sounds pretty bleak.
     
  5. Christian

    Christian Manta Ray

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    The BIg One was in 1998. That was the most severe known El Nino effect to coral all around the globe and especially the Indian Ocean was hit hard.and the central to western parts in particular. Then there has been minor a bleaching in 2010 and then a "medium" in 2016-2017. After what I have seen a lot of the shallow hard corals are in bad shape. You can find live and pretty stretches near channels with deep water. House reef shallows are in bad shape, very much due to sand pumping to preserve/build beaches. Still lts of fish though and good chances to see some bigger things like rays and reef sharks.
     
    ontdiver likes this.
  6. Mephki

    Mephki Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: USA
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    Dove 35 dives near Dhangethi in July 2019, 2 sites were amazing (both deep/strong currents), everything else was looking very sad.
     
    ontdiver likes this.
  7. Angelo Farina

    Angelo Farina Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Parma, ITALY
    1,659
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    Also consider that in Maldives now there is an hard limit to 30 meters and no deco.
    The better dives we were doing in the eighties were well beyond those limits. Dhiggiri Kandu, for example, one of my favourite ones, is around 48 meters.
    Rakeedhoo Kandu, at the south of the Felidhoo Atoll, is more than 60 meters.
    Both of them cannot be done nowadays...
     
    Mephki likes this.
  8. WeRtheOcean

    WeRtheOcean Barracuda

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
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    So in other words, there is no hope. Because each of those activities will be deemed economically indispensable (just like every environmentally destructive activity).

    On the other hand, when sea level rise turns the Maldives into a range of guyots, all three of those activities will stop. Can't say that about every coastal country.
     
  9. Sunn

    Sunn Barracuda

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    Coral bleaching has been a problem, but the reefs recovers slowly... the main problem seems to me being the numerous divers breaking corals.
    I saw last week more than 15 divers on their knees, even the guide of the boat, looking at some mantas. Despite what the guide says, they are not standing on a nude rock, it's just a place destroyed by divers where nearly nothing survived !
     
  10. Damselfish

    Damselfish ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
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    We have only made it there once, a LOB in 2007. Then, there was great fish and critter life. Coral, there were a couple spots where it was truly amazing that had somehow escaped bleaching, and a lot where it was nothing like that. I feel like those couple sites were a glimpse into the past and we were lucky to see them.
     

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