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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed mariculture project in Dhakandhoo, Baa Atoll
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Mariculture projects
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing coastal environment
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring plan
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Jun-2014
Citation: Water Solutions. (2014). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed mariculture project in Dhakandhoo, Baa Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of an environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd for the proposed large scale commercial mariculture farm for the purpose of culturing Grouper and Sea cucumber in Dhakandhoo, Baa Atoll, Maldives. Dhakandhoo is located on the west side of Baa Atoll. This island was leased to Mr. Mohamed Afsheen Shareef (NID: A144394) by Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture on 26th August 2013. Mr. Mohamed Afsheen Shareef is the proponent of this project. Mr. Afsheen had acquired substantial knowledge and information about aquaculture farming and has travelled to neighbouring countries and visited different aquaculture projects to harvest more experience and information on different aquaculture businesses The project is proposed in B. Dhakandhoo including Maafaru falhu at a later stage. This report focuses only on the first phase of the project which includes B. Dhakandhoo and its lagoon only. The vision is to establish a mariculture farm in Dhakandhoo which ensure commercial and environmental sustainability. Two species cultured under this project include grouper Epinephelus coioides, locally known as Lah Faana or Kas Faana and sea cucumber Holothuria-Scabra. The proposed project involves brood stock collection, spawning and larval rearing, and juvenile production in nursery and grow-out in lagoon. Processing, packaging and shipping come after that. For the hatchery of grouper brood stock will be obtained from Maldives. Matured groupers will be kept in 10000 litre tanks and hormone 17-methyltestestrone will be administered to males. Fully matured groupers from this tank then will be transferred to another tanks where the groupers will be kept in separate compartments each containing a male and a female. After the spawning the eggs will be washed and fertilized eggs will be transferred to incubation tanks. The eggs will hatch out in 22-29 hours after spawning. The larvae groupers will be fed with Artemia nauplii shrimp. After the nursery period the groupers will be transferred to cages in lagoon. The groupers will be kept in lagoon for 6 months until it reaches market size 750-800 gram. These groupers then will be packed live and shipped for export. For the hatchery of sea cucumber brood stock will be obtained from Maldives and abroad. Fully matured 100-150 sea cucumbers will be put into 1 ton tanks whose bottom will be covered with sand with 6 inch thickness. Eggs will be produced through induced spawning by altering water temperature. The fertilized eggs will be cleaned and transferred to a new tank where the eggs will grow to larvae. During this stage sea weed paste and Chaetoceros-spp will be fed. At the end of 45 days at the tanks sea cucumber will be grown to size 2-3 grams. These sea cucumbers then will be transferred to lagoon. The lagoon area will be closed with a net. Sea cucumbers will be kept at lagoon for 9-10 months for grow out. After it reaches size of 300-350 gram they will be processed, packed and exported. Live feed for both grouper and sea cucumber will be produced in nursery and some of them will be imported. The EIA was undertaken to assess the environmental and social impacts of this project. Based on the assessment, it has been identified that the major impacts of the project will be felt on the terrestrial environment. Since the island is very small, 64% of the land will be cleared to build the necessary buildings of the project. This also will have significant impacts on the mangrove area of the island. Moreover, there will be impacts on marine environment from jetty constructions, building cages in lagoon, anchoring nets and from sea outfall. During the operational stage, environmental concerns are much less and are associated with energy, water, waste and wastewater management. The mitigation measures are provided in the report with alternatives. It is very vital to conduct the activities, during both construction and operational stage, in line with all mitigation measures emphasized in the report. Socio-economic impacts of the proposed project will be creation of job opportunities in the atoll and development of the agricultural industry in the country. This project will create enormous economic opportunities both in the construction and operational stage through creation of both short-term and permanent jobs and business opportunities especially for the locals. This project will introduce and promote the development of mariculture production systems on commercial scale enabling Maldives to provide additional avenue for employment creation and income generation. Towards the end of the report, a monitoring programme has been suggested which covers components of terrestrial, coastal and marine environment. It is important to follow this monitoring programme not only to comply with the regulation but also to ensure that the impacts are measures in realistic terms.
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