We are currently working on two coral restoration projects that are part of our Blue Center program that offers support and training to any non- profit organisation wishing to develop their own coral restoration programme.
The first one is in Indonesia. Prior to 2015, the use of dynamite fishing destroyed local coral reefs and strongly disrupted the local food chain. Dynamite fishing is now illegal, but this fishing technique was in use since the Second World War. Our Coral Guardian team rebuilt the substrate by transplanting fragments of corals recovered in the area onto solid structures, called ‘nurseries’ to offer them the best possible conditions for development. Despite the strong currents in the area, this technique stabilises the coral fragments on a solid metallic structure where the corals will grow, bringing the reef back to life. As a result of this work over a few years, our team is now collecting fragments from well-grown corals for new coral transplants. This also allows the development of corals that may be more resistant to certain stressors such as climate change, having already gone through a first stress with the fragmentation.
So here are some up-to-date figures on the project that we are all very proud of. Over the past seven years more than 53,000 corals restored, five times more fish species in four years, a marine protected area of 1.2 hectares, a team of eight full-time employees on site, and a strong social impact with fisheries in the surrounding area which have quadrupled in the space of just four years.
Since 2020, we have also been collaborating with the Spanish non- profit Coral Soul in the Mediterranean Sea. The Deep CORE (Deep Coral Restoration) project takes place in the Special Conservation Area of Punta de la Mona, off the coast of the region of Granada in Spain. Our mission will involve (on a continuous basis) seabed clean-ups, actions to restore the coral ecosystem, as well as awareness raising programmes for locals and tourists.
Here are some figures from the project: Since 2020 almost 800 corals restored, more than one ton of trash collected from the seabed, two local universities involved in scientific research, three nurseries in the Mediterranean for the recovery of the most damaged corals, and 1270 locals involved in our outreach programmes.
Coral Guardian was created based on the following observation: coral reef ecosystems are in danger and could disappear by 2050. Yet they are essential for marine biodiversity but also for many people who depend directly on them for their livelihood. Coral reefs are home to 1/4 of all marine species, and are vital to 500 million people in the world. That is why we really want to work hand in hand with local communities who depend on these ecosystems for a living.
Moreover, our oceans’ health is vital for us all on a global scale, Scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean. (NOAA, 2021). We strongly believe that the more we protect coral ecosystems locally from local stressors and the more we make local communities aware of corals’ degradation and importance, the more resilient corals will be to other more global pressures such as rising temperatures and ocean acidification.
To find out more and learn how you can get involved in our initiatives please visit www.coralguardian.org