This project will create coral nurseries and outplant 15,000 corals onto degraded reefs in small island developing countries. Through involvement of local communities and visitors, coral branches that would otherwise die are rescued from construction and dredging sites and from coral predators and are grown to large colonies. Nursery-reared corals provide habitat for reef fish, restore reef health, address climate change, while offering new conservation opportunities for community participants.
Tropical nations rely on healthy coral reefs for food, jobs, tourism and fisheries revenue, and storm protection. In 2016, 80% of the corals in the Maldives bleached and died, and construction projects are further damaging reef habitats. This project will train and educate communities and businesses to rehabilitate coral reefs improving their livelihoods. By growing corals in nurseries and planting these on degraded reefs, participants restore reef health and address climate change.
Corals are rescued from disturbed sites where they would otherwise die and grown in coral nurseries using simple, low cost, low tech approaches. After 12-18 months corals reach sizes that allow successful transplantation back onto reefs. Communities learn to establish and maintain nurseries and protect their reefs, gaining a skill in coral gardening they can expand to other areas. This provides employment, new strategies to conserve reefs, and raises awareness of communities and visitors.
We will establish nurseries on three atolls with 15,000 corals and restore 6 reefs with community involvement, and transfer techniques and ownership to local residents and businesses to promote nursery expansion and establishment on other islands. This provides a simple tool to restore reef health and help them adapt to climate change. It will secure continued income from fisheries and tourism that would be lost if the reefs continue to degrade, benefiting over 1200 people in 3 communities.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).