|Abstract: ||This Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is the evaluation of the potential
environmental, socioeconomic and natural impacts of the proposed dredging component of
resort development project in Ithaafushi reef. The EIA Regulations published by EPA has been
used as the basis for preparing this document. The proponent of this project is Ithaafushi
Investments Private Limited.
An EIA has been prepared and approved for the project on October 2015 under the Tourism
Law. The First Addendum to the EIA was submitted MoT on June 2016 and is pending
approval. This EIA has been specifically necessitated as the proponent has opted to use a
Trailing Hopper Suction Dredger (THSD), which requires dredging from atoll lagoon. Any
development outside the boundary of tourist property requires a separate EIA approval from
EPA. Thus, this report only looks into the dredging component of the project.
The overall project involves reclaiming a total area of 20.8 Ha in Ithaafushi Reef and the
development of the necessary infrastructure for the functioning of a stand-alone 240 bed (120
room) bed capacity. The property will comprise of three separate islands but will be operated as
The component proposed under this EIA is to use a THSD to dredge about 500,000 cbm of sand
from the atoll lagoon of North Male Atoll and reclaim the proposed island.
The rationale for the proposed dredging technology is due to the availability of a TSHD in the
Maldives. THSD was proposed as the preferred option on the original EIA if a ship was to
become available. The proposed borrow area is located in the atoll lagoon in North Male’ Atoll
approximately 27-30 km from Ithaafushi reef. Distance to nearest Marine Protected Area from
the borrow site is 1.8 km and distance to sensitive environment is about 1.1 km. A total of
500,000 cbm of sand will be dredged for reclaiming Ithaafushi reef. The site has been identified
due to the presence of sand, reusability and proximity to reclamation site. Dredging activity will
take approximately two to two-and-a-half weeks and a total of 17 trips will be made by TSHD.
Duration of the overall project is 24 to 30 months. The proposed borrow site has also been used
to reclaim the Male’ SW harbour area.
The proposed developments are generally in conformance to the relevant laws and regulations.
Additional approvals are required for the following before commencement of project activities.
They include dredging and reclamation approval from EPA, detailed drawings approval from the
Ministry of Tourism and construction approval from Ministry of Tourism.
Existing environment utilises the baseline data collected for the original EIAs. Works already
completed in the reef include construction of sand bunds for Island B and dredging the entrance
channel. For this report, borrow area sediment quality, marine environment and marine water
quality around borrow sites was assessed. In addition, a detailed bathymetry survey was
undertaken. Results of the assessment at proposed borrow site showed limited fines and 80 –
90% moderate sized material suitable for reclamation. The nearest MPA to the proposed
dredging site Giraavaru Kuda Haa has excellent coral life and abundance fish.
The most significant negative impact from this project during construction are typical impacts
associated with dredging and reclamation. All marine organisms within the footprint of dredging
will be lost. In addition, increased levels of turbidity and sedimentation inhibit corals ability to
successfully reproduce. Others include impacts on ambient noise level, air quality and
greenhouse gas emission, marine water quality, changes in hydronamics, impacts on unique
habitats and impacts on visual amenity for nearby resorts. Main socioeconomic impacts include
the impacts on marine biodiversity and visibility around house reefs of nearby resorts and dive
spots in the region. Loss of marine fauna and impact on reef systems will cause a direct impact
on the revenue of the resorts. The presence of sensitive environment within the vicinity is a
concern, particularly due to the recent coral bleaching event, cumulative impacts from the
recently completed Hulhumale’ reclamation project and cumulative impacts of dredging from
the same site for Male’ SW harbour construction project.
The key mitigation measures proposed for the construction stage include finding options to
mitigate noise and air pollution, increased turbidity and sedimentation, resource and social
conflicts. To mitigate turbidity and sedimentation, bund walls are proposed to control sediment
dispersal during dredging and reclamation and use of ‘green valves’ in the TSHD to minimise
impacts from the water overflow during loading into the hopper. Relevant stakeholder must be
informed about the project at all stages to mitigate any resource and social conflicts.
Alternative options were evaluated for the activities that are identified to have significant
impacts on the project. Alternative options have been explored for no changes to dredging
method, shore protection and to master plan. Alternatives have also been explored for harbour
options, outfall locations and alternative locations for borrow sites. Given strong benefits for the
project it is recommended to proceed with changes and preferred option for harbour is proposed
northwest corner for aesthetics. Four sites have been studied for potential borrow sites, but South
Male’ atoll is left untouched due to the manoeuvring difficulties for a large ship in the area. It is
proposed to use the proposed borrow site with stringent adherence to TSHD overflow control.
The Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for this project is designed to produce a
framework for anticipated impacts associated with THSD activities, including practicable and
achievable performance requirements and systems for monitoring, reporting and implementing
The Monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the physical environment as well as
operational aspects of the resort, particularly in relation to THSD operations. The monitoring
plan in the addendum has been updated as per the changes made to the project. The total cost of
mitigation and monitoring are estimated to be USD 5,000 per year. Since the project already has
a monitoring programme approved for the original EIA under MoT, the overall programme must
incorporate the programme presented in this report. The report must be submitted to both MoT
Stakeholder consultations were held with Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Research
Centre, The proponent, Baros Maldives, Centara Rasfushi Resort and Spa and Diver’s Lodge
Maldives. Attempts were made to consults with Kohdhipparu island but were non-responsive.
Stakeholder consulted raised concerns on the impacts dredging activity will have on notable
dives spots and house reefs of the nearby resorts. Given the vicinity of a MPA around the
dredging site, stakeholders recommended exploring alternative borrow sites. The proponent
emphasized on the importance of the changes made to the project. EPA noted that a separate
EIA may be required to be approved by EPA. This EIA has been initiated based on this
The main conclusion of this report is to move forward with the proposed changes with the
proposed alternatives and the suggested mitigation measures. It has been proposed to move
forward with THSD use as it reduces the timeframe of impacts by 6 months which is a
substantial environmental benefit compared to a CSD.|