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Delivering technical assistance on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Maldives

The Republic of Maldives is known for its rich marine environment, home to habitats including mangrove, seagrasses and coral reefs. These habitats are integral to Maldives’ two major industries of fisheries and tourism, and provide food security, employment, foreign income, and recreation.

The Ocean Country Partnership Programme (OCPP) has been invited to collaborate with the Government of Maldives to explore opportunities to support effective management of their marine environment. The partnership is providing demand-led technical assistance around two key themes: marine biodiversity and marine pollution.

The focus of the marine biodiversity theme is to provide support for the Maldives Marine Protected Area (MPA) network, with an emphasis on improving governance and stewardship, and alleviating poverty through supporting jobs in sustainable tourism.



Working in partnership with the Government of Maldives, the OCPP are supporting the delivery of activities to assist sustainable marine management in Maldives. To date, activities have focused on enhancing the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Other Effective Conservation-based Measures (OECMs). Details of activities will be listed below as they develop. 

The OCPP work in the Maldives is being supported in the UK by experts from JNCC, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Cefas). If you have any questions about this work, please get in touch.


Maldives OCPP Work Areas

The below headings summarise some of the current and past work areas undertaken across the biodiversity theme of the OCPP in partnership with the Government of Maldives. Outputs from these work areas can be viewed in the Resources section.


Protected Area Management Effectiveness (PAME)

In 2021/2022 the OCPP collaborated with the Government of the Maldives to undertake a pilot study to assess the management effectiveness of three different types of marine sites in Maldives, including Hanifaru Area MPA, Kudahuvadhoo Kanduolhi grouper aggregation site and Angsana Velavaru resort house reef. The aim of this study was to increase understanding on how these sites function, determine how well they are being managed, highlight key success areas, and provide recommendations on how management could be improved.

Stakeholders in discussion at a workshop for Hanifaru Bay MPA in the Maldives. Photo by OCPP

The results for each assessment have been summarised in a final report entitled Report of Protected Area Management Effectiveness Evaluations for three sites in the Maldives. The report also provides a detailed step by step guide on the methodology used and recommendations to improve management effectiveness both for the individual sites assessed and for MPAs across the Maldives. It was launched during a workshop on MPA management in January 2023. Additional publications linked to this area of work can be found in the Resources section including a stakeholder survey report and leaflets summarising the findings for each marine site. 


MPA Management Framework (including MPA Management Plans and Research & Monitoring Plans)

To support a coherently managed network of MPAs and OECMs across Maldives the OCPP is working with the Government of Maldives to make recommendations around the development of a national Marine Protected Area Management Framework. 

A room of stakeholders sitting at round tables watching a presentation for a workshop.

The Management Framework will set out the context for MPAs and OECMs in Maldives and outline national approaches to management including key principles and tools to deliver effective management. Guidance on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) Management Plans and Research and Monitoring Plans with complimentary templates will be developed under the Management Framework. Templates will be used to help develop Management Plans for a selected number of existing sites.

Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS)

The OCPP has supplied the Maldives Marine Research Institute (MMRI) with a set of six Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS) to build the surveying capacity and expertise of the MMRI. Shortly after training was delivered in May 2022 the MMRI deployed the BRUVS as part of their National Reef Monitoring Programme. The OCPP will continue to support the MMRI through additional training around BRUV data analysis.

A threadfin butterflyfish swimming over a coral reef

MPA Communications & Awareness Raising

The importance of MPAs and their role in protecting the marine environment of Maldives is not widely known amongst local communities. The OCPP is working with the Government of Maldives to develop communication materials to raise awareness of the role and benefits of MPAs and the different types of designation in Maldives.

Infographic of a mangrove and coral reef ecosystem and text explaining the benefits of marine protected areas

As part of this work, the OCPP has produced:

All these materials are available to access from the resources section.

We are also supporting the development of a Protected Sites government website which will highlight all MPAs in the Maldives and provide access to associated management materials.

Emergency Response

The Maldives lies near internationally busy shipping lanes making them vulnerable to ship related maritime pollution incidents. The OCPP will be working with relevant Ministries and Agencies in Maldives to support proactive emergency response (ER) work. Training will be given across different aspects of ER including oil spill modelling, post-spill monitoring, and oiled wildlife response. This will help to increase preparedness within the Maldives to better plan for, and respond to, such incidents.

Two lines of oil on a beach from an oil spill

Environmental Impact Assessments

We are supporting Maldives Government with strengthening their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes via knowledge exchange and sharing best practice and guidance used in the UK EIA process.

A rooftop view in the Maldives looking from Malé towards Hulhumale



Published pieces of work associated with the listed activities undertaken through the OCPP-Maldives Government partnership can be found in this section and will be added throughout the programme. 



Communication and awareness raising material: 



Ocean Country Partnership Programme

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