“Protect Sharks” – This phrase may come as a surprise to most of you who have usually viewed these creatures as being a threat to man. However this situation is quite the contrary in the wondrous archipelago of the Indian Ocean fondly known as the Maldives. The traveller is indeed spoilt for choice when looking for interesting activities in Maldives. This island nation formed by no less than twenty six atolls makes it one of the world’s most dispersed countries in geographical terms. These atolls are made up of coral reefs and sand bars which homes an amazing diversity of marine life ranging from reef fish to sharks to eels and manta rays!
This complex and delicate marine eco system is sometimes taken for granted and it is with this view that the Tourism Ministry of Maldives has organized the Maldives Shark Watch Program. As top of the food chain predators these sharks play a very important role in the oceanic ecosystem by maintaining a biological balance. Without them the system would break down and threaten the entire existence to ocean life which is an integral part of human existence and sustainability. Sharks are known to be among the most efficient predators in the world due to the ability of bulleting through the water at amazing speeds and the razor sharp teeth which are utilized to rip into prey.
Therefore the main aim is to raise awareness on the importance of sharks and protecting such an important species. Sharks are one of the oldest animals on earth and have evolved over centuries. This evolution has resulted in sharks being more developed and are known to have what is known as a sixth sense which allows them to ‘feel at a distance’. Amongst these shark species are whale sharks which are considered one of the friendliest shark species. In total there are around 37 shark species. In order to protect this marine life the Maldivian authorities have created no shark fishing areas in seven of the atolls and there are around 25 protected marine areas aimed at sustaining the shark population.