Here’s an unfortunate statistic from the island nation – more than 90% of shallow coral reefs in the Maldives died when El Niño, a climatic phenomenon, raised sea temperatures by 4°C in 1998. The higher than usual temperatures have been coming back to the Maldives ever since leaving no time for the coral reefs to regrow and heal themselves.
Kandima Maldives launched its Coral Adoption program in 2017, which is headed by the onsite marine biologist Lee Miles. The scientist says that having healthy coral reefs helps protect the islands and their marine life from wave action and beach line erosion. But coral reefs are under threat from increasing sea temperatures that have a bleaching effect on them. Also, careless divers can break the coral, while overfishing damages algae growth, leaving the reefs unprotected. Miles’ job is to collect the broken pieces of the coral from the ocean and to transplant these onto artificial coral frames that come in two sizes: small, medium and large. Lee maintains a photo-documentation, clicking them every month to monitor their growth before he transplants ‘healed’ coral back into the reef.
The pieces of coral are fixed with a handful of cement on to a specially made metal stand that normally carries the sponsor’s name. The frame itself is located under the ocean and normally in the island’s lagoon. The program itself is a fantastic way of helping the reefs grow where not so many corals are found. Guests can monitor their adopted coral frame’s growth online, through images being shared via email regularly by the marine biologist. Normally corals grow slowly, only two centimetres a year.
Three different frame sizes are available for adoption: US$ 60 / 80 / 120 – small/medium/large
For more information, please email Aquaholics Krew [email protected]