Turning over a new reef: Inside three coral regeneration projects

Turning over a new reef: Inside three coral regeneration projects. Once there was a mass of corals 15 miles [15 km] long in the Gulf of Kutch, off the coast of Gujarat. It was probably all that needed to be a healthy rock – beautiful, colorful, full of life. But some 50 years ago, it started to fade. Sajan John said that they do not know what caused it. He also said that but it is possible that the load is increasing with the construction of ports and oil and gas refineries along the coast. Branch corals, which make the crown beautiful, are also less sensitive to changing water conditions. And they perished.

What remains to be seen is where WTI has been working to reclaim corals since 2008. It is one of the oldest coral reefs in India.

Turning over a new reef: Inside three coral regeneration projects
Turning over a new reef: Inside three coral regeneration projects

Recently, the Indian Zoological Survey and the Gujarat government have begun work on their coral rehabilitation project, starting in January 2020.

Branch corals have not returned yet. WTI has tried, in the first few years, to reinstate it. Praveen Kumar, a marine biologist who is in charge of the WTI coral rehabilitation program said that but it is difficult for these to reproduce and reproduce under the harsh local conditions.

With the help of local fishermen, Kumar collects broken coral reefs from an area with abundant water and places them in an underwater “nursery” near the sea, so that they can get used to it.

Kumar said that the pieces are then transferred to artificial rivers called coral gardens, near rivers. These coral gardens are circular structures built on the sea floor by stacking rock formations or basalt with a diameter of 1 meter and a height of 1 meter. WTI has created 1,240 such cones over the past six years, with a total area of   3,149 square meters spread over an area of   30,000 square meters.

Kumar also said that Coral gardens act as a substrate where floating coral caterpillars can live and act as excellent fish compounds.

The government initiative, meanwhile, is implementing a policy of mineralization, which the NGO ReefWatch India (RWI) has been using in the Andaman Islands for a number of years. Since 2018, the RWI coral rehabilitation program has been repairing broken pieces of coral using metal frames and small electric power, powered by solar panels.

This process is based on the principle of electrolysis. Calcium carbonate, a major component of corals, and other minerals is separated from the water and deposited in a metal frame, enabling the coral to grow faster than it would normally.

Once deposited, corals are monitored periodically, metal frames are retained as required and growth rate data collected.

Due to the close proximity of the Andaman waters, RWI is also able to work with a wide variety of species, and several branch corals also adorn their metal frames.

Meanwhile, in Goa, the renovation project is being assisted by a banking lecturer and citizen scientist. Through the NGO Coastal Impact, Venkatesh Charloo and a team of divers instilled broken coral fragments in the waters around Grande Island, in a process called micro-fragmentation. They started this in May 2020. Charloo noticed an outbreak of coral reefs in his divers, which were threatened by uncontrolled algal growth, due to changes in water conditions.

The process is simple and involves using a special epoxy glue to attach the pieces to the lower parts of the lower tiles. Each tile is called a bed. The beds are then placed in a metal frame at sea, where they remain until they get used to each other and begin to grow.

“We’ve also planted 192 pieces from now on,” Charloo said. “Once a month, each clip is weighed, algal grows around the nursery and glue and cable cables are inspected. They grow very slowly. Sometimes we will take them out of the nursery and put them on the rocks so they can spread. ”

To fund this project, the pieces are designed for adoption. A person can donate money to feed a piece, and he or she will receive a certificate of adoption, tax exemption and general renewal of how the piece works. “So far, 35 pieces have been accepted,” Charloo said.

Bittu Sahgal who is the environmental activist said that the artificial rivers are a major but inevitable effort to reverse the damage caused by human pride and ignorance. He also said that the natural corals should be considered as an important infrastructure for life and economy.

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