In the Maldives, volunteers plant coral in an effort to regenerate the surrounding reefs of Konotta Island. Reef Conservation in Mauritius is working with the community to establish sound conservation management. And in Thailand, Pure Blue Foundation has directed funds exceeding $50,000 to aid multi-faceted marine conservation efforts, including coral reef restoration in Koh Samui. Meanwhile, staff members and guests at Castaway Island, Fiji, are closely aligned with the philosophy and goals of the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES), helping to monitor and maintain the health of marine ecosystems.
All these initiatives are connected to the Outrigger ZONE, a global conservation program that aims to protect and grow coral reefs in oceans surrounding Outrigger resorts in the Hawaiian isles, Fiji, Thailand, Maldives and Mauritius.
“We started participating in Outrigger’s ZONE program in 2016,” says Joan Li, a marine biologist with the Konotta Regeneration Project in the Maldives. “We’re trying to engage as many guests and staff members as possible to participate in the program, as well as other resorts. It is extremely important to raise everyone’s awareness about environment protection and our reefs.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program, healthy coral reefs are some of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet, annually providing an estimated $375 billion in economic and environmental services, such as food, protection for coasts and tourism. Reef-supported tourism alone generates an estimated $30 billion.
“NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is extremely proud to participate in the launch of the [Outrigger ZONE] project,” said regional director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Allen Tom in a released state-ment. “This unique partnership is quite rare in the federal government and the only one at NOAA between a federal agency and an international hotel chain. Our mission of protecting life and property, while conserving this natural resource, can only benefit from the collaboration with Outrigger Hospitality Group.”
With more than 60 percent of the world’s reefs under immediate threat, conservation is key to stem the damage—and possibly even reverse it. But to do so requires the efforts of science-based management, more education and prioritizing on-the-ground and in-the-water actions.
“Climate change, acidic oceans, land-based pollution and negative impact of overfishing are the main threats,” explains Paolo Maurin, Ph.D, former national education coordinator and fellowship manager for NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. “Some threats, like climate change, will go unabated, but we can do things locally that can increase the resiliency of our reefs.”
“Outrigger ZONE is an action plan that charts a clear course for Outrigger to make a positive impact in helping to save and protect coral reefs and ultimately the wellness of waters around the world,” says Sean Dee, chief marketing officer and executive vice president at Outrigger Enterprises. “I’m extremely proud that Outrigger Resorts has pledged significant resources and is aligning with key conservation partners for this cause.”
We look forward to continuing to demonstrate our dedication to the environment through existing and future sustainability and conservation initiatives at each of our beachfront destinations.