Monday, October 19, 2015

Olive Ridley Project returns to Gili Lankanfushi

On Tuesday, we were happy to welcome back the Olive Ridley Project Founder, Martin Stelfox to Gili Lankanfushi. Following the success of his previous visit, we invited Martin back for the second time this year to spend time with our guests and hosts!

Set up in 2010, the Olive Ridley Project works towards eradicating the issues surrounding 'ghost gear' in the Indian Ocean. Ghost gear is lost, discarded or abandoned fishing equipment, usually in the form of broken fishing nets, which continue fishing as they float through the ocean, unseen, hence the name ‘ghost’. Marine life can easily get entangled within this fishing equipment, and most commonly in Maldives, we see the Olive Ridley species of turtle entangled. It is the plight of this species of Vulnerable sea turtle that gave the Olive Ridley Project its name.

The day started with a presentation highlighting the importance of sea turtle species to the ecosystem, and discussing the issues of ghost gear. Feeling enlightened about marine debris, and its negative effects on the environment, a large group of guests and hosts headed out for a reef clean to our One Palm Island reef. We didn’t collect much, but every little helps!

Hosts don't want to eat plastic.. neither does marine life!
Our afternoon consisted of training sessions for selected hosts. Our Mr Friday (butler) team and boat crew are the eyes of the resort, often walking the jetties, visiting the villas, or driving boats to and from the island. They are often the ones who spot ghost gear or entangled marine life around our resort, and as such they were taught how to handle entanglement situations effectively, and why it is important to collect so much information about the nets themselves. By collecting data about the fishing nets, we can start to find out where they are originating from, and using this information, the Olive Ridley Project helps educate the fisheries in those areas. Even our Bangladeshi gardeners were trained with the help of translator and head gardener Sajal.

To round off the day, we held an anti-litter event in our host canteen during afternoon tea, encouraging hosts not to litter in the ocean and informing them of the consequences of marine debris, especially ghost fishing gear.

What can you do to help?
Visit http://oliveridleyproject.org/ for more information on what to do if you find a net.
To donate, click here.

Always choose sustainably caught seafood. As consumers, we have a big voice which enables us to control the demand of certain fisheries. Say no to gill net, purse seine and trawl fisheries, and look for the pole and line label on tins of tuna. This way we can dramatically reduce the number of nets in our oceans, and cut the problem off at the source.



Our thanks go to Martin Stelfox, Founder and Director of the Olive Ridley Project.

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