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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the development of a mariculture project in R. Fenfushi
Authors: ReefTAC Maldives
Keywords: Mariculture projects
Physical parameters
Biological parameters
Marine environment
Socio-economic environment
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Constructional impacts
Operational impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: 2013
Citation: ReefTAC Maldives. (2013). Environmental impact assessment for the development of a mariculture project in R. Fenfushi. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was prepared to fulfill the requirements of Clause 5 of the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (No. 4/93) of the Maldives for assessing the potential environmental impacts associated with the development of a mariculture project in R. Fenfushi. The project is proposed by Seaharvest Maldives Pvt. Ltd. This report identifies both negative and positive impacts that may arise from the implementation of the proposed project, during both construction and operation. Justifications and rationale are provided for implementing the various components of the project. Mitigatory measures are suggested for swift action should a negative impact arise. An environmental monitoring plan that will aid in measuring the actual impacts of the proposed project is also included. The major activities of the proposed project are described under ‘Scope of Work’. The project will be implemented in two phases which upon completion will include the construction of jetties, sea-cages, packing facility, shore protection, powerhouse, plant nursery, hatchery facility, accommodation blocks and related infrastructures. Approximately 176.9sqm of land area will be used for the development. The proposed project will be carried out over a period of 8 months. The project will involve the culture of Epinephelus fuscoguttatus, Brown-marbled Grouper in sea-cages. A hatchery facility will be established by the end of Phase 2, where E. fuscoguttatus will be bred, eggs incubated and larvae raised through to fingerling stage prior to fattening in sea-cages for harvest. The next chapter, ‘Description of the Environment’, describes the general environmental setting and geographic location of R. Fenfushi. Climate and physical factors including the monthly average values of temperature, rainfall and sunshine as well as baseline data collected on a field survey trip to the site are provided in this section. Subsections include bathymetry, beach profiles, vegetation, terrestrial fauna, wind speed, wave data, current speed and direction, sediment transportation, temperature, rainfall and humidity. Water samples were collected to achieve an understanding of the natural water quality parameters and to assist in conducting monitoring programs. Biological factors were also assessed, including marine substrate and coral analyses, fish counts and socio-economic surveys. All activities during both construction and operational stages of the proposed mariculture project will be carried out in accordance with existing plans, policies, guidelines, laws and regulations of the Maldives and relevant international conventions to which Maldives is party to. The applicable policies, laws and regulations include the Environment Law, Environment Protection and Preservation Act 1993 (EPPA), Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, 2012, Strategic Economic Plan, National Environment Action Plan III, The Fisheries Act, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Protected Areas and Environmentally Sensitive Areas, Regulation on Sand and Aggregate mining, Regulation on Coral Mining, Regulation on Removal of Trees, Waste and Wastewater Regulations and Policies and International Conventions, Treaties and Protocols. Under the chapter of ‘Potential Impacts on the Natural Environment and Mitigation Measures’ details of potential environmental impacts and relevant mitigation measures are provided. The main environmental impacts of the proposed project will be from clearing of vegetation, piling for jetty construction, and fattening fish in the lagoon. Though access to fishermen will become restricted, the project is anticipated to bring about positive direct and indirect impacts to the socio-economic environment. The chapter on ‘Alternatives’ discusses the possible alternatives to the various components of the proposed project with their key advantages and disadvantages followed by recommendations. This includes the ‘no project option’ and its’ advantages, disadvantages and recommendations. An environmental monitoring and management plan is included, which is necessary to ensure that changes and impacts to the environment are identified and mitigation measures swiftly implemented. It is mandatory to submit detailed monitoring reports to the Environment Protection Agency of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. Consultations and inter-agency coordination was carried out to discuss the components of the project between relevant stakeholders. All consulted stakeholders were supportive of the proposed slipway project. Details of these meetings are provided. This EIA demonstrated that both short and long term impacts are expected to arise from the development of the proposed mariculture project at R. Fenfushi. This includes negative environmental impacts to the marine and terrestrial environment and mainly positive impacts to the socio-cultural environment. After consideration of predicted impacts and identification of appropriate mitigation measures, the consultant concludes that the project is feasible, given all applicable laws and the recommendations of this EIA are adhered to and the monitoring program carried out as outlined. ReefTAC Maldives Pvt. Ltd. acknowledges the work of all participants involved in the collection of data and preparation of this EIA, and wishes to thank the Proponent, Raa Atoll Council and residents of R. Fainu, Kinolhas and Meedhoo for their continuous assistance and cooperation throughout the period of this EIA.
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