Coral reef restoration in Vonu Bay
Vonu Bay is located in front of Beqa Lagoon Resort; half of its area has been declared an MPA, encompassing over 150,000 square metres. Vonu Bay has a fringing reef with a developed reef flat, fore-reef, seagrass meadow & sand flats as well as a rocky shore. Many years of tourist activities, continuing destructive fishing methods, the reefs current recovery phase from a period of coral bleaching and an ongoing outbreak of Crown of Thorns starfish (COTS) has left the reef in a degraded state in need of immediate active management.
The project collaborates with the Beqa Lagoon Resort 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 protecting the reef from threats. Resort guests and visitors participate in interactive educational programs on the importance of the reef scape and its fragility.
The first underwater coral nurseries were placed in May 2016 in Vonu Bay. ‘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 are strong and big enough (time is size and species specific), they are transplanted onto bare patches on the reef.