One of the main attractions of a tropical island paradise is the opportunity to snorkel or dive amidst the vibrant colours and sheer diversity of marine life living in its coral reefs. However, while coral reefs are major tourist attractions, they are also incredibly vulnerable and their popularity also places them at risk of accidental human damage.
In line with the continuous efforts to safeguard the biodiversity of its abundant marine ecosystems, Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives launches its Coral Reef Propagation Project and invites guests to be part of it.
With the main aim of rebuilding the resort’s reef, the first phase of this initiative will replace the corals that have been lost or damaged over the years as a result of environmental and human impacts. In the long run, it will also increase the number and diversity of species living on the resort’s house reef.
Through guest participation, the project also has a strong educational aspect. “We want to raise awareness of how important coral reefs are as ecosystems in the Maldives and around the world. Coral reefs host around 25% of all species within the marine environment, and if lost can have extremely damaging effects on our oceans. We hope that with this project we will increase the number and diversity of species we already have here on our house reef.”, according to Abby Cooper, the resident Marine Biologist.
The regeneration of Finolhu’s reef begins with fragments of coral being attached to spiderweb-shaped frames, which are then placed on the edge of the resort’s house reef to create a coral nursery. The nursery is regularly monitored and maintained to prevent the buildup of algae and remove any predators that could have an adverse effect on the coral.
The fragments of coral used in the project are what is known as “opportunity coral”. This includes pieces of naturally broken coral found during snorkel and dive excursions, coral that has been relocated during construction projects, or small pieces of healthy coral harvested carefully from large thriving colonies. By collecting coral from different sources, it ensures the genetic diversity necessary for healthy growth and reproduction.
Guests are able to snorkel out to the nursery to see the progress of the coral growing on the frames. If they then choose to participate in the project, they will receive a certificate and photographic updates of the coral they planted every 6 months. Prices of the frame are USD 150 (Small), USD 300 (Medium) and USD 450 (Heart-shaped). Moreover, a webpage dedicated for this project will be launched in the near future.
To know more about this project or to those who would wish to have their “personal coral plantation”, feel free to reach out to email@example.com. In-house guests can drop by the Dive Centre to sign up.