Baa Atoll in the Maldives was officially declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 13 June 2012.
The area, which is the home of iconic resort Soneva Fushi, is a stunning place with a rich biodiversity. Soneva Fushi has for long been advocating conservation of the Baa Atoll. The resort played a central role in the campaign to stop shark fishing in the Maldives. The campaign successfully got the Maldivian government on 1 July 2010 to enact a ban making the export of shark products illegal, and effectively turning the countries territorial waters into a shark sanctuary. The exclusive economic zone covers 90,000 square kilometres, roughly the land mass of Portugal.
To now also get the Baa Atoll declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a testimony to great conservation efforts. Soneva Fushi has been part of a working group setting up the management structure of the Biosphere Reserve and will continue to take an active role.
One of the great things about Biosphere Reserve status is that the area is both being protected and at the same time allow both local population and tourist use the area in a sustainable manner. In this way the Baa Atoll will still be preserved without excluding the stakeholders of the area.