The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA) has started implementing a coral reef cultivation project in the Al Hamriyah region of Sharjah, WAM reports.
The project aims to achieve sustainable development of marine life, increase biological cover and biodiversity, and rehabilitate marine life in the area.
The coral reef farming project in the Al Hamriyah region will contribute significantly to the rehabilitation and restoration of coral reef areas and will aid in the flourishing of marine life and fisheries, as coral reef farming operations have been used successfully to restore balance to the marine environment and achieve long-term sustainability.
Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of EPAA, said, “The coral reef cultivation project in the Al Hamriyah region is divided into two phases. The first involves the installation of bases (metal wires) in shallow areas ranging from six or seven meters deep, and then monitoring them during the growth period, which is usually in the summer after the end of the breeding season because it achieves the highest rates of growth and survival compared to the winter season.”
The second stage involves transferring the coral colonies from their growth places and fixing them in the areas to be developed and established and following up on survival and growth rates. “The project works to maximize the use of biological material, such as coral reefs, to produce large quantities of colonies instead of obtaining them from where they are,” she added.
Al Suwaidi revealed that four types of hard coral reefs common in the Arabian Gulf have been cultured, which are “Acropora,” “Porites,” “Turbinaria,” and “Platygera.”
According to Al Suwaidi, the techniques that have been used in this project are very simple so that they can be easily replicated in the future. During this year, other methods will be used to produce a number of colonies using one small colony.
Coral reefs are essential elements of marine life because they are a refuge and a haven for marine organisms and fish. They are considered a national wealth for future generations as they help ensure sustainable food security.
Coral reef farming is not the first project that the EPAA is working on in this regard. It has already implemented a similar initiative on the Sir Bu Nair Island Reserve, where the coral reef is considered one of the most diverse in the Arabian Gulf. Coral reefs on the island extend to as far as 20 meters deep into the sea, but in recent decades have suffered from severe deterioration due to natural and human factors resulting from many wrong practices.
The EPAA publishes educational awareness material, implements policies for environmental awareness and programs, and launches specialized campaigns in the field of environmental awareness and education.