CORAL REEF RESTORATION

WELCOME TO THE MALDIVES

Beautiful tropical islands and white sandy beaches surrounded by pristine clear water, along with stunning coral reefs and exciting marine life have all made the Maldives one of the top global destinations for divers and luxury resorts.

Elevated ocean temperatures caused a massive coral bleaching event in 1998, resulting in the bleaching of up to 80% of the coral reefs worldwide. Sadly, further bleaching events have occurred more recently in 2010 and 2016.

Reefscapers (originally ‘Seamarc’) started restoring coral reefs and marine habitats for resorts in the Maldives, and successfully developed their pioneering coral frame technique back in 2005.

Deployment of coral frames

Maintenance work and photography

Mature coral frame

WHAT WE OFFER

Reefscapers offers the most advanced coral propagation programme to efficiently restore altered reefs and deserted sandy seabeds. Our coral reef experts will design a custom reef to suit your environmental needs, vision and budget, by expanding the resort’s atmosphere into the water.

During the entire process, the programme involves long-term monitoring and maintenance. All the coral frames are bi-annually monitored, with pictures taken and uploaded to a web page custom-designed exclusively for your resort. Each sponsor receives an automatic alert when new photographs of their coral frame are available. All the scientific data of the coral frames are recorded online and visible by the sponsors at any time, including frame number and dedication, coral species name and satellite QGIS location map (when available).

Reefscapers coral frames attract marine life into sandy lagoons

Coral frames are regularly monitored, maintained and photographed

HOW DOES IT WORK?

After an initial marine survey of your property by our marine specialists, Reefscapers will design the best environmental solution to restore your house reef. Our main objective is to enhance marine ecosystems in the long term and give guests the opportunity to transplant their own corals.

Guest-Sponsored Programmes

Guests interested in the project can directly build their own coral frame with the resort’s marine biologist, trained by Reefscapers programme experts. A specific tag dedicated to the sponsor is attached to the frame along with a number which will facilitate the bi-annually monitoring to observe coral growth rates, development and identify the marine life sheltering in the structures. Frames are visited on a regular basis allowing us to identify which species are better suited to particular environments and which can adapt to warmer temperatures.

Corals used for the transplantation process are found broken naturally by storms or fish, or accidentally by humans. After 2-3 years, fragments are directly taken from the colonies growing on the frames, eliminating the need to collect from the natural reef.

Amazing Growth

Within a few weeks, corals have encrusted onto the frame. Within a month they have grown over the cable tie. At six months, they have already started to grow new branches. Corals can grow at a rate of up to 10-15 cm per year! The photos below show the same frame after 3 years of growth!

This self-sustaining method of coral propagation is quickly transforming reefs and sandy sea floors into thriving reefs, acting as refuge areas for juvenile fish and crustaceans, and as a source of spawn for the propagated coral species, they contribute to biodiversity and increase the productivity of the reef.

By increasing the reproduction of the most successful coral species, the team is working towards the development of ever more resistant coral offspring, better adapted to withstand higher seawater temperatures and so help the corals in their fight against global warming.

Social Impact

The coral frames are designed and made on a local island in Baa Atoll called Fulhadhoo. This unique opportunity provides employment for several local people and allows them to develop skills outside of traditional fishing by getting involved in marine conservation and tourism activities.