Preserving paradise: coral conservation at Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island

Marine biologist Andreia Tami Akaki shares her commitment to supporting the resort’s coral conservation efforts.


Preserving paradise: coral conservation at Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island

Marine biologist Andreia Tami Akaki shares her commitment to supporting the resort’s coral conservation efforts.

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Nestled amid azure waters, Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island offers a blissful retreat where white sands meet crystal waves. While the villas at this idyllic resort provide guests with a luxury base from which to enjoy a range of water sports and excursions, a commitment to coral preservation makes it a haven for those who seek sanctuary and seclusion and, at the same time, want to support conservation efforts. 

Aerial view of Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island


A Passion for Protecting the Planet

Coral reefs play a crucial role in our global ecosystem, as marine biologist Andreia Tami Akaki explains: “Coral reefs can be simple and complex, small and big, and it fascinates me.”

Comprising one-quarter of all ocean life, it’s the rich biodiversity of coral reefs that inspired her to get involved with their conservation. After all, beyond their obvious beauty, coral reefs play a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. Andreia emphasises the relationship between corals and microscopic algae called zooxanthellae, which create oxygen and food as well as adding a burst of rainbow colours to each colony.

The importance of protecting our coral reefs should not be underestimated. As Andreia explains, approximately 500 million people worldwide depend on reefs for sustenance and their livelihoods, and 30 million are almost entirely reliant on them. Moreover, coral reefs act as a natural barrier, protecting coastal communities from the impacts of climate change, such as erosion, flooding and storms.

Image of Lionfish and divers near Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island


Guests Have an Important Role

Home to extensive coral reefs, the Maldives has an important part to play in preservation efforts, and guests at Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island can contribute, thanks to a range of activities. Coral planting workshops provide an educational and hands-on experience in coral restoration, instilling a sense of responsibility for the conservation of these delicate ecosystems.

“In addition, guided reef exploration, scuba diving and semi-submarine experiences allow guests to witness firsthand the disparity between areas with and without healthy coral reefs,” says Andreia, who acknowledges how these activities can help foster awareness and appreciation.

While in the water, guests are encouraged to adopt eco-friendly practices that can minimise their impact on the coral reefs and Andreia stresses the importance of maintaining a comfortable distance from the reefs, staying horizontal and using reef-safe sunscreen. That’s because many sunscreens can contain harmful substances that threaten the marine ecosystem, particularly corals.

Image of Hawksbill Turtle near Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island


Looking Forward to the Future

Andreia shares a success story highlighting the positive impact both guests and the resort's team have had on the local reefs. “Through our ongoing coral reef restoration project, we've successfully established four coral trees with 400 coral fragments in our nursery and added over 300 fragments to a Mineral Accretion Technology (MAT) structure.”

Not only has the project seen the growth of various coral species, but the star-shaped structures situated near the resort’s water villas have also created thriving marine habitats, showcasing another benefit of the team’s conservation efforts.

Seeing the positive impact on local reefs is a source of immense satisfaction for Andreia, who says: “While our coral planting is a small act, the noticeable growth and activity in the reefs are truly fulfilling.”

Looking ahead, she hopes people will continue to make everyday choices that contribute to coral conservation and highlights how initiatives such as reducing waste, eliminating single-use plastic and participating in clean-up efforts, are crucial steps toward safeguarding the Maldives’ invaluable coral reefs.

Oriental sweetlips near Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island

Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island is a testament to the idea that luxury and environmental responsibility can happily coexist – the resort provides a memorable escape while inviting guests to help preserve the delicate ecosystems that make the Maldives a true paradise.