Celebrating Our Partnership With the Olive Ridley Project – Part 115 Jun 2021
Prodivers is proud to sponsor the work of our partner, the Olive Ridley Project, in Lhaviyani atoll from the base at Kuredu Resort Maldives. The Olive Ridley Project is a registered British charity dedicated to protecting sea turtles and their habitats in the Indian Ocean, through the rescue and rehabilitation of turtles, education and outreach, as well as scientific research. If you have stayed with us on Kuredu you may have met our Sea Turtle Biologist, on a Turtle Search or while diving and snorkelling, or perhaps in the office at the Marine Center. We’d like to share with you the successes from 4 wonderful years of partnership!
The Olive Ridley Project’s work in Lhaviyani atoll is threefold, with the main focus being the rescue of sea turtles found entangled in ghost nets or other debris. Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost or discarded by the fishing industry, but which float near the surface and continue to kill marine life. The Maldives government has made the use of large fishing nets illegal in the country, however nets from the wider Indian Ocean drift through on ocean currents. Often when a ghost net is encountered, there is an olive ridley turtle found entangled. These turtles spend their whole lives in the high seas and are thus at higher risk of entanglement in drifting ghost nets. This, being the project’s main work is, of course, how they got their name! When an injured turtle is rescued we provide first aid, and arrange transfer to the Olive Ridley Project’s veterinary clinic in Baa atoll. We then collect data and photographs of the ghost net itself, and ensure it is extracted from the sea, to end the cycle of harm. The data provides valuable information that helps to understand the sources of ghost gear so they can be prevented. Thanks to cooperation between resorts, local islands, fishermen and other NGOs, 30 ghost nets have been removed from Lhaviyani atoll and we have seen 23 turtles rescued!
Check back to find out more about the other areas of the Olive Ridley Project’s work: population studies and nest monitoring and protection – we will be focussing on them in upcoming blog articles.