United Arab Emirates – Six Senses Laamu and the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI), proudly present the progress and results of the on-site conservation research projects, along with sustainability initiatives and outreach for 2022. The MUI team constantly strives to better understand the natural marine habitat of Laamu Atoll and works towards protecting and maintaining its ecosystems, ensuring a more sustainable future for the atoll and its local communities for generations to come.

The MUI team consists of resort hosts, as well as its three partner NGOs: The Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and The Olive Ridley Project (ORP), all of whom work together towards research, guest education and community outreach goals. It is the largest on-site Marine Biology team in the country and works hard to establish Laamu as a hub for marine research and become an example for sustainable marine resource management in the Maldives.

In August 2022, the MUI team participated in the Fourth Maldives Marine Science Symposium (MMSS) hosted by the Maldives Marine Research Institute (MMRI). Between the team and partner NGOs, a total of 12 oral and poster presentations were given, covering various research projects that are running on the island. It was an enormously proud moment in the history of MUI, to not only be given a voice and present these projects, but also for being recognized as leaders in their respective fields and presenting their work to the nation and beyond.

Another significant milestone of 2022 was the publishing of the first collaborative paper by MUI and Blue Marine Foundation. Their research found that after 15 years of protection, the density of Napoleon wrasse in Laamu is comparable to an area where this species has never been exploited, and population densities in the atoll are within the range of what can be considered an undisturbed population. Napoleon wrasse has been protected in the Maldives since 1995 and the only study conducted in the country since, was not long after, in 1997.

In 2022, the vision of creating a marine conservation center for environmental learning became reality. On May 6, the cornerstone of the Sea Hub of Environmental Learning in Laamu (SHELL) was placed and by the end of the year, housed the MUI team, along with a gallery exhibition space, offices, marine laboratory, cinema room, and an interactive zone. The SHELL, officially opened in 2023, aims to bring science, marine conservation, and education together to meet high-end hospitality in an innovative and exciting way, and engage the hearts and minds of the resort’s guests, hosts and the local communities.

Other highlights of the year include the launch of the Megafauna citizen science app, (which allows the MUI team to easily document megafauna encounters), ORP’s appeal and meeting with the President for support in establishing a consistent monitoring program to tackle egg poaching on Gaadhoo (local turtle nesting hot spot), the completion of the most comprehensive atoll-level research of reef fish in the Maldives by the Blue Marine Foundation and the completion of the first ever Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) study with Laamu’s fishermen by the Manta Trust.

Marteyne van Well, Regional General Manager said “As we all know, our oceans are, sadly, facing unprecedented threats. To protect our marine ecosystems, we need to understand our oceans and the life within them. Six Senses Laamu recognizes its responsibility to the local community, the nation, and the greater world, to contribute and where possible help pioneer and share solutions to drive sustainability and conservation within the tourism industry. Since the resort’s opening in 2011, we have strived to be a leader, not only in minimizing negative impacts on the environment, but also in establishing a standard for tourist resorts to make a positive impact and give back. We are proud of MUI’s journey so far, and immensely proud of our accomplishments, our efforts and initiatives, and the research and results that have come out of this marine collaboration between the resort and its partnering NGOs. Looking into the future, we will continue to find new, innovative and creative ways to share the team’s research, making it accessible to guests, hosts and the local and scientific communities alike with aim to help contribute to the creation of a next generation of conservation heroes.”

Six Senses Laamu and the MUI team are tremendously grateful for all the existing and new collaborations formed in 2022. The team owes a “depth” gratitude to the ever-growing network of local and international experts and partners, who have so generously offered their support over the past years. MUI’s success would not have been possible without them.                                                                                                                                

The full report is available here: MUI 2022 Annual  Report

About Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu is the only five-star resort in the Laamu Atoll. Deep in the Indian Ocean, it is surrounded by a beautiful coral house reef. Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater; however, beach villas and on-land dining are also available. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view of the ocean and Maldivian nature.

Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options and cuisines from around the world, an ice cream parlor, an over-water wine cellar, an organic garden and a signature bar. Many activities and excursions are available on land, in water and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa and the Sea Hub of Environmental Learning in Laamu (SHELL), a marine conservation center.

About Six Senses 

Six Senses operates 22 hotels and resorts in 18 countries and has signed a further 41 properties into the development pipeline. Part of IHG Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses serves as a changemaker and maintains a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, emotional hospitality, wellness, and crafted experiences, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat, or urban hotel, the vision remains the same: to reawaken people’s senses so they feel the purpose behind their travels and ultimately reconnect with themselves, others, and the world around them.

Six Senses Residences offers all the unique amenities of a resort life community while retaining the privacy and personal touches of a beautifully appointed private villa or apartment. Each is an appreciating long-term investment to be cherished for generations to come with immediate benefits and exclusive status at other resorts worldwide.

Six Senses Spas guides guests on their personal path to well-being in all resorts as well as a handful of standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach goes beyond ordinary beauty treatments to offer holistic wellness, integrative medicine, and longevity.

Figures as at March 31, 2023