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Monday, 4 July 2011

What we did on our holidays...

I know, I know, you don't want to read about my hols, but trust me there is more to this blog than just holiday snaps. We went to the Maldives looking for Manta Rays, which were elusive this time... anyway, what we did find, were reef sharks (grey reef shark pictured here and yes, it is my shaky hand behind the camera) This guy was 5 - 6ft long and just stunning to watch.

But what I really wanted to tell you about was this...
I had no idea, but until as recently as 2010, the sharks in the Maldives were not protected from fishing. In fact in took tourism research to identify that a grey reef shark was worth much more alive and in the water for tourists to see, than dead on a plate or with its fins taken for soup.

Really this information was a bit of an eye opener for me as I do tend to battle with the morals when it comes to wildlife holidays. I love to see it, but I don't want to have a negative impact, always a fine balance. So the very idea that Sri Lanka is recognising the value of this and other marine species and protecting them as a result is great news (although I am still surprised it has taken this long). What's more, I saw for the first time, evidence of cultured coral in the Maldives. Something that will undoubtedly make it an even richer environment to visit as well as boosting the economy by creating a tempting tourist lure.

The island I went to has been culturing coral successfully for a number of years and their house reef is possibly the most vibrant I have seen. We saw turtles, sharks, we found Nemo, (clownfish) Dory (Regal Tang) and Gill (Moorsish idol), swam with blue and yellow fin tuna, swam with rays (sadly not Mantas, but they are there) the list was endless, and trust me I would happily bore you with the many, many, many pictures I took – but I won't.

But enough of my rambling, I just wanted to share the fact that Ecotourism is there, we just need to make sure that we are aware of areas where we are having a positive and negative impact and behave accordingly.

Happy summer holidays!! :)

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