I met Valmik and Sanjana some while ago. I have been actually wanting to meet one of the Thapar’s for quite some time, because I have read all the Thapar’s books. The Thapar’s are one of the best literally families, dynasties in India and the Kapoor’s are one of the best artists of India.
They have been coming to the Maldives for the last five years. They have been also watching our underwater heritage and our wildlife.
Recently the Ministry of Housing, Transport and Environment have done a database of all the reefs of the Maldives and we actually now know how many hectares of reefs that we have. The work is not yet complete. Once we finally come out with the whole work, which would be our registry of land that would include all the reefs. Up until now we have only had the islands. We haven’t actually listed the reefs.
Long, long time ago with land grants, copper plate grants and other endowments, we also gave rights and ownership of the reefs to different people so that they may look after them.
But since then the economic use for the reefs diminished with I think the collapse of the cowry trade and therefore gradually we stopped describing reefs. And then finally we were just only left with the islands. But then recently the reefs have again come to limelight with tourism, also with all issues to do with corals. So we have again started listing, measuring them, finding them out and seeing how big they are and what is actually there.
I have seeing these reef resource management projects done by UNDP some while ago but this is not a huge project as such. We thought we could actually do this without it being a project. The projects seem to have so much process in it that we end up having no substance but just completely an excellent process. But instead of going through a very intricate UN process we thought that we will just get the Ministry to measure the reefs and find out how many hectares of them that we have. So we hope to come up with the registry as soon as possible.
The idea is that we try to manage it and we try to save the bulk of it and also at the same time try to see how we may be able to make a livelihood out of it while saving it. I am sure that this is now quite possible and I have had a number of conversations with Vimlik and Sanjana and I am always encouraged by the amount of work they are doing in saving the tiger. We therefore hope to see light.
I thank you very much for enlightening us with this shot film. We also hope that you will continue to come to the Maldives every year for the rest of your life. I hope that the next generation also will do exactly the same thing and find the reefs as beautiful as you have also found.
Again, than you very much. Than you Shauna for arranging the whole thing at very short notice and thank you everyone for coming.