Inter Agency Task Force on Coral Bleaching formed
The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture with the direct advice of the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. Mohamed Shainee has formed Inter-Agency Coral Bleaching Task force for the predicted bleaching to occur in the Maldives.
This Task force consist of Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture together with its research arm Marine Research Centre (MRC), Ministry of Environment and Energy, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Tourism and Coast Guard of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF).
This task force is formed to centralize the nationwide effort to record predicted bleaching to occur as warned by the Coral Reef Watch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of United States. Coral Watch of NOAA issued Bleaching watch from last week for the Maldives and its outlook predicts that the Maldives will see a significant increase in Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) which will result in nationwide coral bleaching. According to the update by the coral watch, last Saturday the alert level for the Maldives will be shifted from a "bleaching watch" to "bleaching warning (Possible bleaching)" within 1-4 weeks time and this is predicted to be moved to highest bleaching alert level of "alert level 2 (Coral Mortality likely)" within 5-8 weeks time. Department of Meteorology is also predicting a significant rise in temperatures and higher than daily averages.
The introductory meeting of the task force was held on 17th March 2016 at the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. The task force is to be met regularly during the predicted bleaching window which is believed to last until July of this year.
This Task Force will assist the data collection effort by MRC with assistance from IUCN and EPA. The Task Force will also advise management actions which can be considered to mitigate the impacts of predicted coral bleaching in the Maldives.