Over the years Friend of the Sea – the major international certification program for sustainable seafood – has donated a relevant part of its revenue to selected conservation initiatives. Projects for the conservation of albatrosses, marine mammals, monk seals and many others, have been supported by Friend of the Sea.
This year, the certification program has selected the Maldives Whale Shark Research Program (MWSRP) as an important conservation and research institution to be supported.
The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a research-based conservation charity dedicated to whale shark studies and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives and the greater Indian Ocean.
The MWSRP is also the organizer of the 3rd Maldives Whale Shark Festival, taking place on the 29th of August 2015 in South Ari Atoll, Maamigilli Island. The aim of the Festival is to catalyze knowledge transfer between scientific researchers, island communities, educators, artist and students to safeguard the future of the whale shark and it’s natural habitat.
“Friend of the Sea is first of all an NGO for the conservation of the marine habitat”, explains Paolo Bray, Founder and Director. “We are honoured to be able to contribute to valid international conservation projects which share our own mission”.
Information on Friend of the Sea
Friend of the Sea is an international certification program for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Over 450 companies in more than 50 countries have relied on Friend of the Sea to assess the sustainability of their seafood origins. Audits, based on best and most updated available scientific data, are run by accredited independent certification bodies.
Information on Maldives Whale Shark Festival
Initiated in 2013 by Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP), with the support of UK based artist Chloe Osborne and in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Festival is designed to provide the island communities of South Ari Atoll with the opportunity to celebrate the whale shark and the marine diversity of their Atoll whilst fostering environmental sustainability and conservation at a grass roots level.
Seeding the idea of an international collaboration between marine biologists and artists as well as by promoting the use of community art as a key tool for social and environmental education and engagement, the project seeks to boost local and national awareness and tourism to support future generations.
THE MALDIVES WHALE SHARK FESTIVAL IS A COLLABORATION BETWEEN OUR MARINE BIOLOGISTS, CONSERVATIONISTS, ARTISTS, SCHOOLS AND ISLAND COMMUNITIES AND AIMS TO:
- CELEBRATE THE MARINE DIVERSITY OF SOUTH ARI ATOLL AND ITS MARINE PROTECTED AREA. (S.A.M.P.A.)
- PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS AND CONSERVATION
- BRING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER THROUGH CREATIVE WORKSHOPS
- SUPPORT AND SHOWCASE MALDIVIAN CULTURE THROUGH STORYTELLING AND CRAFTMANSHIP
- CONTRIBUTE TO THE NATIONAL CULTURAL CALENDAR
- INVEST IN ECO-TOURISM AND SUPPORT CIVIC PARTICIPATION
- CATALYSE KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER BETWEEN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHERS, ISLAND COUNCILS, EDUCATORS, ARTISTS, STUDENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO SAFEGUARD THE FUTURE OF THE WHALE SHARK AND IT’S NATURAL HABITAT
Previous and Future Festivals
- The first Festival was held in 2013 and was hosted by the island community of Dhigurah.
- The second Festival was held in 2014 and was hosted by the island community of Dhangethi.
- The Festival in 2015 will be the 3rd Annual Maldives Whale Shark Festival and will be hosted by the island community of Maamigili.
- Sponsor dependent, the 4th Annual Whale Shark Festival will be hosted in 2016 by the island community of Fenfushi.
Contact for more information:
Rae Munavvar, Maldives Whale Shark Festival Media Coordinator
Phone: +960 7449277 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme
The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (MWSRP) is a charity that carries out whale shark research and fosters community focused conservation initiatives in the Maldives. What initially began as a scientific expedition in 2006, the MWSRP has grown to become the only long-term organization dedicated to the study of the iconic, yet vulnerable whale shark species in the Maldives.
Our goal is simple: we seek to advance the field of whale shark knowledge and to advocate for sound conservation policy in the Maldives. By encouraging and valuing community and industry stakeholder participation, we are able to leverage the scientific research to safeguard the rich biodiversity and fragile marine ecosystems that are the basis for not only whale sharks, but also life, livelihood and culture in the Maldives. Community mobilization is one of our core values. Participation from the local residents of South Ari Atoll and throughout Maldives is very important to the work of MWSRP.
Contact for more information:
Richard Rees, Managing Director MWSRP
Additional Resources and links
Images from previous festivals, this year’s Festival Logos and Poster can be found and supported via Social Media links below or provided on request in high res formats for online or print publishing.
Visit our website at www.maldiveswhalesharkresearch.org.
Or, follow us on Facebook as maldiveswhalesharkfestival (event page) or MWSRP (organisation page), on Twitter @MWRSP and on Instagram @WhaleSharkFestMV.
If you’re keeping track of our media movements, our hashtags include: #MWSFest15 #MWSRP #ADhAtoll #Maldives #WhaleShark #Conservation #OceanLovers #MarineLife