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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed small scale experimental aquaculture development project at Thumbafushi, North Male’ Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Aquaculture development projects
Experimental aquaculture
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Physical environment
Biological environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: May-2013
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2013). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed small scale experimental aquaculture development project at Thumbafushi, North Male’ Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out the proposed experimental aquaculture of grouper at Thumbafushi, North Male’ Atoll. The proponent of this project is Mr Mohamed Moosa of Ma Champa Heaven, Maldives. The main rationale for the project is to explore the potential and feasibility of aquaculture of grouper in Maldives to expand the fishing industry in order to diversify local economy and increase foreign currency by reducing the import of reef fish into the country and exporting cultured grouper products in future. The project involves three main components: (1) physical infrastructure development, (2) import of fingerlings, (3) aquaculture activities. Key infrastructure include quarantine facilities, growout facilities, indoor Hall for RAS tanks, laboratory facilities, pump house and wastewater holding and treating facilities are among the physical infrastructure to be developed. All physical infrastructure will be developed on land. Aquaculture activities include importing fingerlings and culturing grouper to the marketable size. All project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are Environmental Protection and Preservation Act 1993 and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012. The proposed project site is on the north western edge of the island and the area is barren land with no vegetation. Live coral cover at the north western side of the island is low with 6-15% variation. Benthic cover is dominated with rocky basement. No unique or threatened species or habitats are found in the close proximity to the proposed project site. No marine protected areas are located within 10 km radius of the proposed project site. Significant adverse impacts of this project during construction phase of the project are anticipated to be the health and safety risks to construction workers. The potential impacts are hugely reduced with RAS system however significant impacts during operational phase include potential contamination of marine water with pathogens and impacts of biodiversity if an infected animal is released to the wild. All these impacts can be minimized with proper mitigation measures recommended in the report. Key mitigation measures for the construction stage include use of desalinated water for construction and use of completing the works in shortest time possible. Use of sustainable systems (RAS) and maintaining a quarantine facility with lab facility are suggested to minimise adverse impacts during the operational stage. The alternatives evaluated for the project are alternative location, culture techniques and source of fingerlings. In addition no project alternative is also considered and this option is not deemed preferable. The monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the marine environment of the island, as well the groundwater and marine water quality as these are the key areas that may be impacted from this project in the long term. Use of chemicals and treated wastewater water from the facility will also be monitored. The management plan for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition it will provide evidence of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities. In conclusion, this project has been designed in conformance to the relevant laws and regulations of Maldives. The most significant impacts are expected to be on marine water quality and marine biodiversity due to introduction of pathogens and release of infected organism into the wild , as well as the potential risk to health and safety during construction. However, mitigation measures have been proposed to minimise these impacts. This project, if successful, is expected to provide significant beneficial socio-economic benefits.
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