Shameel and community outreach officer Kaia represented ORP at the Katti Hihvaru Festival (KHF). ORP took part in this festival to create awareness among the youth on the growing problem of ghost nets found in the Maldives.
Throughout the festival, ORP were approached by people from all ages wanting to know more about what we were doing in the Maldives. For some, this was the first time they heard the term “ghost net” and learning about their impact to the environment further fueled their interest.. It was great to have the opportunity to discuss the issue on such a personal level and really focus our message on how they could help and contribute to the fight against ghost nets in their local area. The event was very successful and we were delighted to have taken part. We would like to give a big shout out to the KHF 2016 team for all their help and for facilitating our stall at the event.
A few weeks after that, Shameel travelled to F. Magoodhoo and partnered up with the F. Magoodhoo Cooperative society to conduct a session on marine pollution and ghost nets in the Maldives. Shameel met with key members of the island community, who shared their views on marine pollution as well as their past encounters with ghost nets seen within the area. We will be revisiting F. Magoodhoo to further develop this relationship and coordinate with the eco club at F. Magoodhoo School to have some on-going workshops with their students.
Plans for 2017
Shameel’s efforts for the next few months will be on creating awareness at a community level as well as work with the tourism industry personnel so that we can remove as many nets as possible. In January alone, we have had more than 40 entangled turtle’s rescues.
Shameel removed a net just outside Male’, and we are getting reports of many other nets found near different islands all over the Maldives.In addition to the awareness component of the project in Maldives, Shameel will be conducting socioeconomic surveys to determine how much gear is being lost within the Maldives as well as its surrounding. This research is conducted under the supervision of ORP founder Martin Stelfox and we hope to get some valuable information rom this study.
Here is what Shameel had to say about his time so far“I am excited for the next few months as we have a few partnerships being built with local NGO’s and artists to recycle salvageable nets which are being found. We are hoping to partner up with local NGO Save the Beach Maldives who generously offered a space to store ghost gear for local artists. I am also working on a number of exciting community pilot projects which we are hoping to explore over the coming months”