We started with the creation of the coral nursery. First, we collect pieces of corals accidentally damaged by snorkelers. Then, we plant them in the coral nursery using special ropes. There, in the partially controlled conditions, the corals, regularly attended to and cleaned, may grow till they are big enough to be replanted to their final spot on the reef.
RESCUE REEF RELOCATION
Why reef relocation? There is not enough land in the Maldives – more than 99% of the country is covered by the ocean. At the same time, the land is the source of income – uninhabited islands are rented to foreign investors who build holiday resorts. However, as far as the most touristically attractive areas are concerned, there are no uninhabited islands left. Hence, the Maldivian government gives more and more building permits to create artificial islands.
And the artificial islands are being created in the shallowest areas. It means – on coral reefs.
We replant mature coral colonies from the area intended for the creation of an artificial island to a different, safe spot. We also relocate other aquatic animals that cannot escape by themselves.
Currently, we are running Coral Reef Relocation Project – replanting the reef from the area intended for local airport extension. More about the project you can read here.
CHANGES IN LEGISLATION
We believe that only consistent actions can bring lasting effects. Hence, we are working on the implementation of new regulations in the field of coral reef conservation in the Maldives. We meet politicians and decision-makers in the Ministry of Tourism or Environmental Protection Agency.
Our goal is to create a situation where any investor responsible for the works involving seafloor has to arrange and finance coral replanting.
However, legal changes are a long-term process, so until the new legislation is adopted, we will continue to relocate endangered corals on our own.
The change starts here – in the hearts and minds of us humans. That’s why we believe in the power of education, knowledge, and awareness. We learn continually, and our knowledge we pass on to others. We run workshops for children and develop training programs for the local community members and tourists. We dream of the moment when we’ll be able to devote more time and attention to it.
We have developed a two-level training program CM Coral Reef Conservation (Level I) and CM Coral Reef Restoration (Level II). The program includes lectures and underwater practice on the reef and in the nursery.