From ghost nets (discarded fishing nets that continue to catch fish and other animals) and plastic pollution to global warming and overfishing, the ocean is (understatement alert) going through a pretty tough time. Thankfully, many of the resorts we work with are championing conservation both above and below water to help preserve the habitats and species we know and love. So, without further ado, here are our top five resorts making waves in sustainability and conservation.
Misool Eco-Resort, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
A conservation success story for the ages, Misool Eco Resort championed the creation of a marine reserve encompassing 470 square miles (almost twice the size of Singapore). The result? Over six years, fish biomass has increased by 250%, increasing a monumental 600% at some sites, while manta ray sightings have increased by 25 times, showing an astronomical level of recovery. Guests are actively encouraged to join in on conservation initiatives, be it photographing manta ray's bellies or helping release baby turtles. Above water, Misool works with local communities in all things sustainability, from recycling to marine education, not to mention their impressive target to reduce their carbon footprint to zero by 2020.
Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
After visiting this property back in June, Original Diver Lauren wrote an entire post on what the incredible team at Six Senses Laamu are doing to improve the sustainability of their resort, from creating marine reserves, recycling and repurposing waste to creating their own drinking water, phasing out plastics and growing as much produce on the island as possible. You can read more about this on the original blog here.
El Nido Pangulasian, Palawan, Philippines
The three El Nido resorts (Miniloc, Lagen and Pangulasian) in the Palawan region of the Philippines all sit within the protected area of El Nido-Taytay, which is home to a variety of endemic and threatened species, including the Malayan Pangolin, several endemic birds, dugong, dolphins and turtles. The resorts work closely with the local community and government to help protect this area including work to prevent illegal fishing, carrying out coral and reef fish assessments (which guests can get involved with) and environmental education campaigns. The resorts also patrol the waters of the protected area to monitor for illegal activities and work with local authorities to apprehend violators as part of the El Nido Marine Monitoring Task Force.
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
Located in the Musandam Peninsula of Oman, Six Senses Zighy Bay has a wealth of ocean conservation initiatives guests can get involved in, be it removing ghost nets left by fishermen in the Gulf of Oman or cleaning up the diving spots of any other debris left behind by fishermen and, above water, beach clean-ups. They also work closely with the Olive Ridley Project and are in the process of hiring a marine biologist who will develop a project to educate the local community and help develop sustainable fishing practices with them. As with Six Senses Laamu, the resort is also crafted to be as sustainable as possible.
Alphonse Island, Outer Islands, Seychelles
Alphonse was built with sustainability at the forefront of their minds, from the lodge itself, which was built using local materials to blend into its surroundings, to their endless conservation initiatives through the Alphonse Conservation Foundation. Guests are able to get involved in activities such as turtle patrols, beach clean-ups, giant tortoise feeding, bird watching and forest rehabilitation, to name but a few. The foundation also gives weekly presentations to guests providing updates on their efforts, as well as discussing a range of environmental issues. To top it off, Alphonse has also become the first fully solar powered island in the Seychelles by installing 2,200 solar panels, thus eliminating the use of 268,000 litres of diesel and reducing emissions by 718.24 tonnes per year.
Interested in learning more about responsible travel? Get in touch with one of our team and find out more about our favourite eco-hotels.