Photographer's Note

Maldives is an isolated nation and is among the smallest and poorest countries in the world. In olden times, the islands provided the main source of cowrie shells, then used as currency throughout Asia and parts of the East African coast. Moreover, historically Maldives has had a strategic importance because of its location on the major marine routes of the Indian Ocean. Maldives' nearest neighbors are Sri Lanka and India, both of which have had cultural and economic ties with Maldives for centuries. Although under nominal Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences after the 16th century, Maldivians were left to govern themselves under a long line of sultans and occasionally sultanas.
Maldives gained independence in 1965. The British, who had been Maldives' last colonial power, continued to maintain an air base on the island of Gan in the southernmost atoll until 1976. The British departure in 1976 almost immediately triggered foreign speculation about the future of the air base; the Soviet Union requested use of the base, but Maldives refused.
The greatest challenge facing the republic in the early 1990s was the need for rapid economic development and modernization, given the country's limited resource base in fishing, agricuture and tourism. Concern was also evident over a projected long-term rise in sea level, which would prove disastrous to the low-lying coral islands. Fortunately in the early 2000s it was found sea level had fallen during preceding decades.
The Maldivian economy was for many centuries, entirely dependent on fishing and other marine products; therefore fishing has been and still remains the main occupation of the people. This being so, the government gives special priority to the development of the fisheries sector.
The mechanization of the traditional fishing dhoani in 1974 is a major milestone in the development of the fisheries industry and the country's economy in general. A fish canning plant was installed in the island of Felivaru, in 1977, as a joint venture with a Japanese firm. Fish aggregating devices and navigational aids were located at various strategic points. Moreover, the opening up of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Maldives for fisheries has further enhanced the growth of the fisheries sector. Today, fisheries contribute over 15 percent of the GDP and engage about 30 percent of the country's work force. It is also largest foreign exchange earner next to tourism.
Mal International Airport at HululeThe development of tourism has fostered the overall growth of the country's economy. It has created direct and indirect employment and income generation opportunities in other related industries. Today, tourism is the country's biggest foreign exchange earner, contributing to 20% percent of the GDP. With 86 tourist resorts in operation, the year 2000 recorded 467,154 tourist arrivals; Italians are the most part.

From Wikipedia

*Scanned Image*

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Paolo Motta (Paolo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3739 W: 144 N: 8840] (41258)
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  • Date Taken: 1998-02-00
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  • Camera: Nikon N80
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  • Date Submitted: 2005-09-20 3:47
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Additional Photos by Paolo Motta (Paolo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3739 W: 144 N: 8840] (41258)
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