The seventh largest coral reefs in the world, based in the Maldives, provide an immense economic value to the nation’s economy highlighting the need for the tourism and fisheries sectors to make marine and coastal conservation a priority.
In the last decade or so the world’s coastal areas have received a lot of attention – attention that has been spurred on specifically by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. Subsequently, the undeniable linkages between coastal resources and economic and human wellbeing have become more apparent. This is evident nowhere more so than in the Maldives – a nation of small islands dependent entirely on its coastal and marine resources, which contribute extensively to its economy and its people’s livelihoods. There are few examples in the world where an entire nation’s wellbeing is so strongly linked to its natural resource base. For such a country, any threat to its biodiversity means adverse impacts on its future development. Clearly then, there is a strong imperative to recognise and demonstrate that there is an economic – in addition to a biological and ecological – rationale to biodiversity conservation.