Due to the remote nature of the islands of the Maldives, long-term monitoring programs covering a vast area are at the same time logistically challenging and cost-prohibitive. In this sense, citizen-science, defined as ‘the general public engagement in scientific research activities when citizens actively contribute to science either with their intellectual effort or surrounding knowledge or with their tools and resources […]’ has the potential to fill this gap. With more than 100 resorts, 154 safari vessels, numerous dive centers, 192 community islands and various local and national non-profit organizations, youth groups, the presence of the Maldives National University; there are large numbers of stakeholders spread throughout the country that can help advance knowledge. On this page, you can find all the citizen science projects currently run in the Maldives and all the needed information for you to actively take part in data collection.
Maldives Citizen Science Projects
ECOCARE Maldives was registered under the Ministry of Home Affairs in 15 November 1994. This is an independent non-profit-making non-governmental organization, which works for the protection and sustainable development of the environment. ECOCARE is relatively young, non-governmental organization insofar as its official date of registration is concerned. However, when viewed in proper perspective, especially within view of its main objective- that of creating and increasing environmental awareness among the population of the Maldives- the organization has existed for a considerable period of time within the community.
The organisation is made up of concerned individuals who wish to ensure that the natural environment is used wisely and continues to be available for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Bluepeace is the oldest environmental Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in the Maldives.
Bluepeace was initiated by a young group of volunteers during the late eighties and was formally registered on 11th September 1989. The initial aim was at diverting some energy in conserving the delicate environment which is being misused and exploited on an unsustainable manner due to lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding. Since then the organisation has been instrumental in creating environmental awareness through its many campaigns and activities.
Bluepeace is strictly a Non-Governmental Organisation and not-for-profit organisation. The organisation is not sponsored by any particular party or individual but depends on time given freely, voluntary effort, on subscriptions, donations and fund raising.
Save the Beach
Save the Beach started in 2008 as a youth movement in Vilingili to conserve the beaches in Vilingili. Since the days of just hosting an annual cleanup event, Save the Beach is now the responsible authority for cleaning and protecting the beaches and reefs of Villingili. Save the Beach has plans to plant trees on the shoreline on bare areas and carry about awareness programs targeted at school aged children and also the community in general through television spots and other means such as door to door visits and placing of billboards among the many methods for awareness.
Many supporters of Save the Beach participated in the cleaning events which focused not only on cleaning the beaches but the reef around Vilingili. The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), the Maldives Police Services, many government and private offices, environment and other NGOs, schools, dive centers and public officials participated in the cleaning events.
More than 2.7 tonnes of garbage were removed from the beach and reef at this year’s cleanup, among which were plastic, metal scraps, bottles, diapers and a wide range of garbage items.
Volunteers and activists of Save the Beach have keenly observed the ongoing changes to the island due to reclamation, and how the work on jetty and harbor have completely destroyed the reef and habitats of many living creatures. Save the Beach will constantly lobby for the protection of the beaches and reefs of Villingili and Maldives.
Save the Beach Aims
– to conserve and maintain the beaches and reefs of Villingili and to contribute to orderly and sustainable environmental management
– to promote research and study for the benefit of the general public and to maintain the quality of life for residents of Male’
– to create a model island that is environmentally friendly yet embracing human advancements.
At Naifaru Juvenile we work hard in creating an organization with modern management strategies and planning, and we have been able to recruit enthusiastic members that work diligently for the development of the organization, our island, and the atoll. We are dedicated to conducting programs to prevent our island’s youth from getting involved in antisocial activities in the community by reducing the use of intoxicating substances and educating against crime and the destructive consequences of drug use. To engage our use in other activities we offer opportunities in sports and entertainment to the community as well as offering support to the local educational system.
The Sharkwatch programme started in 2009 under the Darwin Reef Fish Project with collaboration from Marine Conservation Society. Sharkwatch aims to collect baseline data on the abundance and distribution of reef sharks in Maldives through shark sightings by divers. The programme would also assist in monitoring the changes in abundances of reef sharks since the declaration of the reef shark fishing ban in 2009.
National Coral Reef Monitoring Framework
The National Coral Reef Monitoring Programme (NCRMF) is part of the Wetland Conservation and Coral Reef Monitoring for Adaptation to Climate Change (WCCM) Project. The NCRMF is an online platform that aims at increasing participation by Resorts and Dive Centers in data collection on natural resources. The project is expected to generate the scientific evidence necessary for a more effective management of coral reefs.
The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a research-based conservation charity dedicated to studying the whale shark and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives and the greater Indian Ocean.
Big Fish Network
The Big Fish Network is an online citizen-science platform developed by the founders of MWSRP to establish a regional monitoring network of wildlife tour guides to increase awareness and stewardship of marine mega-fauna in the Maldives.
Manta Ecology Project
The Manta Ecology Project arose from the personal interest of the author in the mantas observed weekly as part of a tourist diving itinerary. Commencing in 2001 as a simple paper record of observed manta rays, the project was formalized in 2005, when the database of identified mantas already exceeded 600 individuals.
The Manta Trust takes a multidisciplinary approach to the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through robust science and research, while raising awareness and providing education to the general public and community stakeholders alike.
Olive Ridley Project
The Olive Ridley Project aims at educating people living around the Indian Ocean about the detrimental effects of ghost nets on the marine system. The most effective action that can be taken against ghost nets and their effects is to actively remove them from the marine system. With the help of citizen scientists and marine biologist the Olive Ridley project aims at collect and record data of ghost nets in the Maldives.