President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has today decided to designate the ‘Maldives Victory’ shipwreck dive site and Kaafu Atoll Kaashidhoo wetland area as protected, upon the recommendation of his Cabinet.
Presenting a paper on the subject during the virtual cabinet session held today, the Minister of Environment revealed that the Kaashidhoo wetland area has special environmental significance, being one of only three islands in the Maldives home to indigenous tortoise populations—it has the most frequently reported sightings of tortoises from all three sites. The Kaashidhoo wetland area is declared protected with sustainable use for its abundant natural resources and natural habitat of diverse life-forms.
Shedding light on the justification of protecting Maldives Victory shipwreck, located southwest of Velana International Airport, the Minister noted that the nutrient-rich channel currents had transformed the sunken ship into a thriving coral reef—the cargo vessel sank in 1981. The wreck is the most famous and most frequently dived shipwreck in the Maldives.
With these new additions, under Article 4 of the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act of Maldives (Act No: 4/93), a total of 71 sites in the Maldives have now been declared protected. The Administration plans to designate at least one island, one reef and one mangrove in each atoll as a protected area.