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Great Barrier Reef divers using downtime to regenerate reef

Date: 26-May-20
Author: Liam Taylor

The Coral Nurture Program aims to expand stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef by encouraging cooperation between tourism and science.

The Coral Nurture Program aims to expand stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef by encouraging cooperation between tourism and science.

With restrictions currently preventing standard operations, five Australian dive tour operators have pledged to work with local scientists to help restore the Great Barrier Reef through coral planting.

The operators are participating in a reef resilience project called the Coral Nurture Program, which aims to establish long-term stewardship of coral reefs through partnerships between scientific projects and tourism. The project was established in 2019 following a successful feasibility study, with tourism operators contributing by providing their expertise, boats, fuel and other resources. 

Essentially, the Coral Nurture Program works to introduce coral planting as part of local reef stewardship. This is to help ensure sustainable reef ecotourism and promote education on the major threats to coral reefs and possible solutions, which involve the whole community.

“There are two new things about this program,” project coordinator and PhD student Lorna Howlett told Karryon.

“It is the first time on the Great Barrier Reef that tourism operators have worked alongside researchers and the first time that a coral clip has been used to attach corals to the reef.”

“It involves finding fragments of opportunity – coral fragments that have naturally broken off – and attaching them back on to the reef using a coral clip.”

The project provides a new and innovative way for dive and snorkel operators to care for the reef sites they rely on in their business operations. Operators already contribute to reef restoration through reef monitoring, education, good management species and the removal of invasive species such as the Crown of Thorns starfish.

 

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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.



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