The Marine Research and Higher Education Center (#MaRHECenter) was officially inaugurated on January 28th, 2009. The Center’s purpose is to carry out research and educational activities in the fields of environmental science and marine biology, tourism science and human geography. It also aims to educate as to how to protect this fragile environment and its biodiversity, as well as to use and manage its resources responsibly.
Ocean water and coral reefs are vital for the economy of the Maldives. The two major industries there – fisheries and tourism – rely directly on the health of the marine ecosystem. Population growth, mass tourism, over-fishing and other environmental problems are all having an increasing and dramatic impact on the marine environment. The Maldives has an ecosystem characterized by rich biodiversity, which is at the same time extremely delicate and subject to drastic modification due to global climate change and local anthropic pressures, such as fishing overexploitation and mass tourism, as well as the threat of rising temperatures and ocean acidification. Furthermore, in the last few decades, the Republic of the Maldives has undergone complex changes in its socio-economical standing due to various factors: the constant increase in foreign investment in the tourism market; the dependency on oil producing countries; and the introduction of new consumption models.
The Marine Research and Higher Education Center, in collaboration with the Maldivian Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture aims at blending technology, development and sustainability for the protection of the natural environment and the enhancement of human resources.