For one day a year the Maldives Whale Shark Festival will bring communities from South Ari atoll and all over the Maldives together to celebrate the significance of the whale shark and its habitat. In doing so it aims to create a positive platform from which to raise awareness of important conservation issues facing the Maldives diverse but fragile marine environment.
For the third instalment of this annual event in 2015, the MWSRP has added a dedicated research and knowledge sharing element to the schedule. Bringing together marine scientists from across the Maldives the day before the festival we created ‘ScienceFEST’, an interactive yet informal conference, inviting participants to exhibit the latest and greatest in conservation and research in the Maldives.
Like the festival which has spawned it, ScienceFEST aims to promote research outputs not just for whale sharks, but for the wider marine environment and the conservation topics which affect it. We are therefore honoured to host experts in the fields of manta rays, corals and mangroves as well as people who are striving to preserve turtles through highlighting the dangers of ghost nets, blue whales through responsible tourism and coral reefs and even us humans from pollution pressures. For its part the MWSRP will be giving a preview of its 2015 ‘Analysis of Aggregation’ paper based on 9 years of whale shark data, a ‘first reveal’ of some exciting findings!
We aim to grow this initiative year on year but hope that you enjoy following the 2015 installement as much as we enjoy creating it!