The Maldives is an archipelago of 1200 islands grouped in 26 atolls. The atolls are spread over 871 kilometers in the Indian Ocean, making the Maldives one of the most extensive countries in the world. Only about 200 of the islands are inhabited by Maldivians, and less than 200 islands are developed for tourism. The rest of the islands are untouched or partially submerged. The Maldives is a paradise for underwater explorers and is home to 5% of the world's coral reefs with over 2000 species of marine life. Among them are 14 species of sharks and 23 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises); which are protected under Maldivian law.