Eydhafushi to Host Baa Manta Festival 2019
The Manta Trust is organising the second Maldives Manta Festival in partnership with the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Eydhafushi Island and Atoll Council, Baa Atoll
Education Centre, and Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru resort. This exciting event will build on the success of last year’s festival by bringing together communities, school students and tourists from across the country to celebrate the Maldives’ unique marine life. What better location for a manta festival than Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; home to the world-famous Hanifaru Bay, a Marine Protected Area that attracts aggregations of over 200 reef manta rays during the South West Monsoon.
The Baa Atoll Manta Festival aims to leave a lasting legacy for young Maldivians, inspiring the next generation to engage with marine ecology and conservation. This year over 1000 students are expected to attend.
“We want our annual Baa Atoll Manta Festival to encourage young Maldivians to experience the beauty of the ocean by spending more time in the water swimming and snorkelling” explains the Manta Trust’s Flossy Barraud, one of the event’s key organisers. “Resorts sponsoring 2018’s Manta Festival donated snorkelling equipment to every school in Baa Atoll. This year, the resorts are taking 200 students from 12 local schools snorkelling with manta rays inside Hanifaru Bay. We hope this will inspire the next generation to continue to protect their marine environment and Biosphere Reserve.”
Friday 20th will include the opening ceremony and speeches as well as a panel discussion between environmental figureheads from the Biosphere Reserve, Manta Trust and the Environmental Protection Agency, amongst others. With over 30 inspiring stalls boasting educational content plus manta, turtle and whale shark themed games and virtual reality, the event is sure to engage all attendees with vital marine conservation issues. Malé businesses including Island Bizaar, Oevaali Art Shop and Pepper Dots will join the celebration, bought to the festival alongside students by transport partner MTCC. Creative students are invited to enter the live art competition, with great prizes up for grabs including return flights from our travel partner Manta Air. Stalls will remain open into the evening, allowing guests to peruse whilst enjoying Bodu Beru and DJ performances.
Saturday brings plenty more excitement as stalls open for a second day and students take part in some hands-on conservation for ‘World Coastal Clean-up Day.’ Students will learn how to segregate waste using ocean plastics collected during beach cleans on their islands, organised in collaboration with Soneva Fushi and plastic reduction group ‘Parley for the Oceans.’ In the afternoon schools will participate in the Swim Maldives “Odin Rashah” swimming competition and a themed performance competition titled ‘Charismatic Megafauna’. Following these events, the winners of all competitions will be announced. Prizes will include snorkelling equipment, snorkelling fieldtrips and merchandise generously donated by our sponsors. The festival will go out in style with evening entertainment from local musicians and Bodu Beru.
The festival is generously sponsored by 15 local resorts: Four Seasons, Vakkaru, OceanDimensions at Kihaa, Anantara Kihavah, Nautilus, Reethi Faru, Milaidhoo, Sea-Explorer and Reethi Beach, Finolhu, Amilla Fushi, Dusit Thani and Ocean Group, Westin Maldives, Euro-Divers Maldives, Meeru Island Resort and Soneva Fushi. The festivities will be covered by press partners Eydhafushi Times and Pubic Service Media.
• The Manta Trust is a UK-based manta ray conservation charity, co-ordinating global research and conservation efforts around manta rays: www.mantatrust.org
• The Maldivian Manta Ray Project (MMRP) is the charity’s flagship research project. After more than a decade of research across this island nation, the MMRP has evolved
into one of the largest and longest-standing manta conservation groups in the World: www.mantatrust.org/maldives
• The Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve was designated in 2012 in recognition of the outstanding natural values of Baa Atoll, and the commitments being made by local communities and resorts to conserve local environments including megafauna such as manta rays and whale sharks: www.broffice.gov.mv