After all the recent diving press about the possible closure of Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives we are delighted to confirm that according to new regulations the bay will NOT close.
Hanifaru Bay at Baa Atoll has become a well-known northern Maldives diving destination for its congregations of manta rays and whale sharks. As a result, UNESCO declared the whole area a World Biosphere Reserve on 28th June 2011.
With increasing tourism to the Maldives a need has arisen to regulate the amount of visitors and boats to Hanifaru. This is to minimise the potentially negative impact on the manta rays and whale sharks that visit annually between May and December to feed on the plankton blooms. New regulations under the “Hanifaru Management Plan”, as outlined by the Baa Atoll Conservation Program come into effect from January 2012.
The change that most affects Maldives diving cruises is that diving here is no longer allowed. Instead the bay will become a snorkelling area only and a small jetty is to be built to accommodate this. You will be ferried into the bay from your Maldives Liveaboard in an official ‘taxi boat’ and a maximum of 80 visitors will be allowed at a time. Your permit will be obtained by the liveaboard operator ahead of your trip, please check with us for details.
Diving is still permitted on the outer area of Hanifaru Bay and the rest of Baa Atoll. As it is in this area that divers have recently seen numerous manta rays and several whales sharks, you will still get the opportunity to dive with these amazing species of marine megafauna.
Are you dreaming of manta ray and whale shark encounters while diving the Maldives? Then contact Dive The World right away for more details about our Maldives liveaboard cruises. Call us on +66 (0)83 505 7794 or Send us an email.