Edited by Drs. Sarah Frias-Torres, Phanor H Montoya-Maya and Nirmal Shah, 'The Coral Reef Restoration Toolkit - A Field-Oriented Guide Developed in the Seychelles Islands' describes how to complete a coral reef restoration project using the ‘coral gardening’ concept.
It is based on an 8-year old pioneering coral reef restoration project in the island nation called the 'Reef Rescuers.'
Nature Seychelles started the Reef Rescuers project in 2010, after receiving a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to combat Climate Change induced coral bleaching in Seychelles.
The launch coincides with the Reef Futures Symposium being held in Key Largo, Florida, United States from December 10-14, 2018. Scientists and practitioners have gathered here for the first global conference dedicated to the science and practice of coral reef restoration.
Announcing the toolkit's launch, Nature Seychelles' Chief Executive Dr. Nirmal Shah said, "This is an opportune moment to showcase our efforts in Seychelles to the global coral reef restoration community."
"We want to share best practices, techniques, and tools, as well as challenges and lessons learnt to help others who might want to carry out similar work. Scientists who worked on the toolkit are attending the conference and will be on hand to discuss these efforts."
The toolkit describes the protocol used in the restoration, as well as guidance on appropriate design, logistics, and execution of the project based on experience and field tested methods.
It aims to be a companion for scientists, managers, practitioners and local communities who are facing a coral reef restoration challenge and require guidance.
"We explain the methods used in our coral reef restoration project and how we solved the problems encountered, using low cost solutions with the limited resources found in a small island developing nation," Torres, Montoya-Maya and Shah say.
In a world-first, the Reef Rescuers project raised over 40,000 corals fragments in underwater nurseries and transplanted over 24,000 onto 5,225m2 of degraded reef - the size of a football pitch - at Cousin Island Special Reserve, a 50-year old Marine Protected Area managed by the NGO.
23 staff and over 40 volunteer scientific divers from around the world helped to deliver the project. This compilation of tools is the result of their hard work.
The toolkit was tested during the NGOs first restoration training program. Participants contributed suggestions to the toolkit and have helped to cascade these field-tested methodologies, tools, and trained personnel to other areas across the globe.
The NGO, with further support from USAID, in 2017 opened the Centre for Ocean Restoration Awareness and Learning (CORAL) in Seychelles to serve as a national and regional hub for knowledge sharing on coral reef conservation and restoration.
About Nature Seychelles:
Nature Seychelles is a leading environmental non-government organization (NGO) in the Western Indian Ocean. Its primary objective is to improve the conservation of biodiversity through scientific, management, educational and training programs.
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More about the Reef Rescuers at: http://natureseychelles.org/what-we-do/coral-reef-restoration