Reefscapers, Reviving the Reefs
Maldives Promotion House – Maldives is famous for its numerous coral reefs of unmatched beauty. With a house reef for every island Maldives has remained among the top destinations for scuba diving. Since tourism began in the late 1960s professional divers and underwater photographers from all over the world have flocked to experience the beauties of the Maldivian underwater.
However the coral bleaching of 1998, famously known as El Nino which swept across the Pacific in 1998, affected the Maldives in more than one way. Devastated the Maldivian reefs and bleaching some 90 percent of shallow-water corals, El Nino left a major scar on the underwater beauty of Maldives.
Fortunately Maldives swiftly recovered and a major portion of the reefs retained their beauty. Since then many companies and organizations local and international have assisted Maldives in bringing back the underwater life that once again has begun to thrive.
Among others Four Seasons Resort Maldives is also one of the resorts that share the common interest of saving the Maldivian reefs. After teaming up with the environmental consultancy, Seamarc in 2001 Four Seasons established a coral propagation project called Reefscapers which has become one of the most successful programs of its kind in the world.
Committed to returning the reefs to their original condition by transplanting coral fragments in artificial reef structures which will grow into reefs, Reefscapers has managed to transplant over 120,000 fragments. Through a careful process of attaching coral fragments to frames with cable ties, they have managed to log the identity, location and coral genotype of each frame deposited, in a central database.
The growth of each coral frame is regularly monitored, documented and photographed to learn about the types of marine life attracted to the artificial reefs. The team hopes to develop more resilient coral offspring that can withstand high ocean temperatures and global warming, by increasing the reproduction of the most successful clones.
The team has managed to successfully transplant 80,000 coral fragments in 843 frames around Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. Some 40,000 coral fragments in 419 frames have also been transplanted around Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa. According to the team, the corals show a promising 80 percent survival rate.
While their efforts have led to a 20 percent increase in coral cover surrounding the Resorts, marine biologists around the world have begun to implement techniques developed through Reefscapers, for the global development of artificial reef generation.
We at Maldives Promotion House support such projects and hope that the Maldivian reefs thrive and develop, under the caring hands of the team. We hope that in the future the reefs will become much more colorful and beautiful then they were before.