SAMPA in Maldives, the world’s most unique and significant sites for whale sharks

sampa-in-maldives,-the-world’s-most-unique-and-significant-sites-for-whale-sharks

Discover SAMPA for South Ari Marine Protected Area in Maldives, the world’s most unique and significant sites for whale sharks.

SAMPA maldives whale sharks south ari atoll best place
Swimming with a whale shark in the SAMPA area, at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. South Ari Atoll. © Conrad Maldives

SAMPA is the largest protected area in the Maldives, and it represents one of the world’s most unique and significant sites for whale sharks due to their presence throughout the year.

Maldives Whaleshark

What is SAMPA ?

SAMPA ( South Ari Marine Protected Area ) is a Maldivian non governmental organization that exists to promote environmental protection and sustainable development of the South Ari atoll Marine Protected Area and the communities which border it. Located in South Ari Atoll it was designated as a MPA ( Marine Protected Area ) on June 5, 2009 by a directive from the Maldivian government.

The South Ari Marine Protected Area was established with 3 objectives :

  1. To protect and preserve an important Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) aggregation area in the Maldives
  2. To provide a means to promote and ensure the long-term conservation and protection of the South Ari ecosystem
  3. To generate income for local islands through sustainable tourism, facilitating scientific research projects and fostering community-focused education and conservation initiatives

Where is SAMPA located ?

SAMPA is located on the southern fringe of coral reef of South Ari Atoll (Alif Dhaalu) and encompasses a boundary extending 1 km seaward from the reef edges of all islands between southwest corner of Rangali Island to the northern tip of Dhigurah Island.

click to enlarge

map of location of SAMPA South Ari Marine Protected Area in Maldives Whale shark hotspot
SAMPA location. Map © Dreaming of Maldives

SAMPA is the world’s most unique and significant sites for whale sharks

SAMPA is the largest protected area in the Maldives, and it represents one of the world’s most unique and significant sites for whale sharks due to their presence throughout the year.

SAMPA encompasses 4 local islands within its boundary, Maamigili Island, Dhigurah Island, Dhidhdhoo Island and Fenfushi Island as well as and 4 resorts : Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Sun Island, Holiday Island Resort and LUX* South Ari Atoll.

snorkeling with a whale shark in SAMPA area Dhigurah island south ari atoll maldives
Snorkeling with a whale shark in SAMPA area at Dhigurah island. © MWSRP

Map of Whale Shark Snorkeling Activity and Intensity in SAMPA

This map shows the intensity of snorkeling whale shark activity in the South Ari Marine Protected Area.

activity snorkeling whale shark sampa area south ari atoll maldives

This illustration is based on data’s and researches conducted by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in cooperation with Maldivian government. This research was funded by USAID.

About Whale Sharks

whale shark sighting at lux* South Ari Atoll
whale shark sighting at lux* South Ari Atoll

Whale sharks are majestic and gentle sea giants. They are the largest known fish and can weigh up to over 20 tons and reach a length of a truck ( 18 meters / 59 feet ).

They are by far the largest living nonmammalian vertebrate and sole member of the genus Rhincodon and the only extant member of the family of the Elasmobranchii clade, a sub member of the Chondrichthyes, a class of cartilaginous fishes like sharks and rays.

Despite the huge size of their mouth ( up to 1.5 m / 4 ft wide ) whale sharks can neither bite nor chew. They are filter feeders and have no teeth but armless gill rakers, a bristly structure made of cartilage that allows them to eat plankton and small nektonic prey like tiny shrimps’ and fishes by using their gills as a suction filter.

Continue reading : Swim With Whale Sharks In Maldives. A Dream realizable by all.

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Rozenn

I am Rozenn, Dreaming of Maldives Founder and Editor. Expat for several years in Maldives, I keep on exploring the archipelago and share here my most beautiful Stories and Experiences. Since 1999, we travel to the Maldives several times a year for [more…]

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