With ongoing degradation of principal ecosystems, namely coral reefs and mangrove forests, a proactive approach is needed if to tackle the continuous adverse trend. By focusing on impacted areas, which are viable for rehabilitation, concerted efforts of coral and mangrove farming are put to place for the restoration of these areas.
Vonu Bay is located in front of Beqa Lagoon Resort, with half of its area declared as an MPA. It encompasses over 150,000m2, containing a fringing reef with a developed reef flat and fore-reef, seagrass meadow and sand flats, and rocky shore. With many years of tourists’ activities in addition to ongoing destructive fishing methods, a current outbreak of Crown of Thorns starfish (COTS) and recovery phase from a bleaching event; the state of the reef is in a degrading state and necessitates active management.
The project will collaborate with Beqa Lagoon Resort, in prospect to enhance the natural recovery of the reef and the bay; focusing on restoring the diversity and abundance of its reef corals through coral farming, and conserving the reef from threats; while educating resort guests and visitors on the importance of the reef scape and its fragility.
The first underwater coral nurseries have been erected in May 2016 to grow corals in Vonu Bay, with additional nurseries to be erected. ‘Fragments of opportunity’, broken branches and pieces of coral detached from their mother colony, are the source of the corals maintained in the nursery. When nursery grown corals will be strong and big enough (time is size and species specific), they will be transplanted onto bare patches on the reef.