Mangrove Planting Activity May 2021
Fiji Faces the Challenges of a new Super-Spreader Strain
Fiji is now in the midst of a major crisis. Over a year ago all tourism stopped and we have had severe economic consequences and unemployment. However we had a full year of no community spread of the virus, and we could move freely around the country without masks. Yes, a few cases were intercepted effectively at the border as all arrivals enter a two-week quarantine in a facility. However, the new super-spreader strain (B1.617.2) of COVID-19 jumped right over the vaccine and quarantine, and now over 800 people have been infected in many communities. The last week we have had betwen 33 and 94 new cases per day.
Two New Coral Nurseries Planted and Dozens of Fish-house Structures Deployed
In spite of the challenges, our C4C team, consisting of our coral gardener Merekeleni, and five volunteers, is at the field sties, housed at the now closed Plantation Island Resort. They have been there over-time for the past five weeks now due to the lock downs, separated from their families. The team, under Keleni's guidance, has carried out a tremendous amount of work; removing COTS, creating new coral nurseries in two areas, creating and deploying dozens of fish-house structures planted with heat adapted corals taken from extremly shallow hot pockets, planting mangroves and cleaning the beach when the waves were too big to go out, or when the team was just feeling too water-logged! Plantation island Resort has been very gracious to host the team, providing accommodation, food, and boats! The major trimming and outplanting planned for this month has been postponed, but we hope to do that in July or August, as we hopefully are able to rotate a new team in and also get Austin, the team scientists back in from the main island, where he has been stuck in the lockdowns. During that time, we hope to create at least one new nursery and several putplanting sites with our second generation heat adapted corals trimmed from the existing nurseries, to establish known bleaching resistant and bleaching sensitive corals on both cooler outer reefs and hotter inner reefs (see map). With the additional nurseries and our temperature loggers in place, we will then be well prepared for the next bleaching even and to finally prove that our strategy of moving corals from hot inner reefs to cooler outer reefs is effective at combating climate change and coral reef demise. Moving corals locally will help prevent the demise of the bleaching resistant corals, as the habitats they presently live in may become too hot for any corals to survive, while the outer reefs will not get as hot. Unfortunately the cooler adpated corals of the outer reef may die out, leaving only the pockets of heat adapted corals that we have planted.
Temperature Loggers Capable of Recording Data for Five Years Have Arrived!
We have finally received twenty Hobo recording temperature loggers, which we will soon be able to deploy throughout the site to map the temperatures over time. The loggers will record the water temperature every 30 minutes for at least five years. We also plan to send some to Kiribati and Tuvalu for the coral nurseries there, to be depolyed by our partners, once the mail service is restored.
Raising the Alarm - the Coral Reefs of Kiribati as the Most Impacted on the Planet!
Im May, I drafted a report on the repeated mass bleaching and death of the coral reefs of Kiribati, and submitted it to the Kiribati Ambassador to the UN, Mr Teburoro Tito, and he has forwarded the report to key members of his government. The coral reefs of Kiribati are over 90% dead now, directly due to hot water bleaching, and noone seems to have noticed! Included in my report is a proposed action plan based on our successful Christmas Atoll, Kiribati project, which has now been published as a chapter in a new book on coral restoration.
Progress has been made on the website, and the BBC TV nine-minute film "The Coral Gardener" has been uploaded and can now be accessed on the website. www.corals4conservation.org
Super Donors are Saving Super Corals
In Fiji we have super corals and unbelievably beautiful reefs still persist, and we send a super thank you to our super donors! We are receiving donations in Euros, Pounds, US, New Zealand, Australian, and Canadian dollars, etc, and we are also privileged to be chosen by key GlobalGiving corporate partners who sponsor gift cards. Vinaka vakalevu (abundant thanks) to everyone who has donated and/or who has shared our reports and links, as our web of friends is widening.
The Coral Gardening Team Planting Mangroves
Coral Gardening Team Removing Coral-Killing COTS
Mamanuca Restoration Sites and Planned Sites
Austin and Grandson Kiki Unpacking the Loggers!