Maldives: coastal development is destroying surf breaks | Photo: Ahmed Aznil

Some of the best surf spots in the Maldives are being threatened and destroyed by coastal development and infrastructure.

Save the Waves Coalition and local surfing communities launched an international campaign to raise awareness for the problem.

The non-governmental organization (NGO) wants to protect surf ecosystems under immediate threat from development projects that are compromising some of the Maldives' most precious surf spots.

Save the Waves urges the Maldivian government to prevent private interests from destroying the country's greatest surf breaks.

"We demand that waves are recognized for their biological, social, and economic value," notes Save the Waves.

"We want them to be considered in the environmental impact assessment of potential development projects and integrated into marine spatial planning and marine protected area processes.

Save the Waves underlines that if a project damages these waves, they must be restored to their original condition.

Maldives: the country's best surf spots are being threatened by development projects | Photo: Ahmed Aznil

Chickens and Cokes Under Threat

Local partners estimate that approximately 20 waves are immediately threatened, already damaged, or lost due to development.

Two of the Maldives' best and most accessible waves - Chickens and Cokes - are under immediate threat from infrastructure projects that could significantly alter the wave and surrounding ecosystem.

Chickens, one of the best and most accessible waves in the Maldives, has been significantly altered due to the construction of a seawall on the island.

Also, many other waves face similar infrastructure projects.

These will damage the waves, reef ecosystems, and surf communities that depend on these places.

"Our campaign is bringing international and regional awareness to the many waves under threat. We are collaborating directly with community agencies on concrete solutions to specific threats," concludes the NGO.

Maldives: the local government is allowing private interests to destroy the country's finest surf breaks | Photo: Ahmed Aznil

Surf Economy in Danger

Save Our Waves is working with an independent local organization and joining stakeholder meetings to ensure surf ecosystems are part of the government of the Maldives' strategy for future marine protected areas.

Save the Waves Coalition invites everyone to take action and sign the petition that is available online.

The Maldives are a chain of roughly 1,200 islands located south of India.

The island nation features incredible marine resources, biodiversity, and reef ecosystems.

Surfing is a very important social and economic activity for the local people of the Maldives, as the country is steadily becoming a premium international surf tourism destination.

The national surf economy also embraces numerous small businesses, including surf charter boats, surf guides, and surf schools.

In early 2021, Maldives joined the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, which aims to protect 30 percent of global oceans by 2030.

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