A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. They occupy less than 0.1% of the world's ocean area, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species. The coral reefs in Shimoni, Kenya are heavily damaged due to blast fishing in the past. This form of fishing is now prohibited and the local fisherman know how to catch fish sustainably.
Restoring the local marine ecosystem here is important for the wellbeing of the ocean and the people. With our modular artificial reefs and active coral cultivation we can revive nature together with the local community.
Photos by Ewout Knoester
Stage 1: Setting up coral nurseries
To start this restoration project a few coral trees have been produced and installed. Small pieces of living coral (Corals of Opportunity) are gathered and placed on the trees. After 5 months time these coral fragments have gained enough strength to be planted out and start a new coral reef.
Stage 2: Installing artificial reef pilot project
Together with the local community we have installed the Modular Sealife System as artificial reef. The unique modular system enables artificial reef installations without the use of heavy machinery. A lot was learned during the installation process and various improvements for future installations were identified. Only two days after installation the first visitors were already spotted!
Stage 3: Planting out new corals
Corals do not grow on all materials. To find out if the corals would adopt the new structures, various coral fragments were placed on the artificial reefs. We are looking forward to see how the corals will grow and what kind of species will be attracted by the artificial structures.
Stage 4: Monitoring
For 1,5 years the structures have been monitored by researchers from the Wageningen University and Reefolution Foundation. We were very happy to find out that the corals adopted the artificial structures as habitat and are showing healthy growth rates after placement. The monitoring surveys have also shown that the amount of fishes and variety of species in the area has increased compared to the situation prior to the reef installation. Now it is time to upscale this project to restore a larger area!
Stage 5: Set up local production facility to upscale project
With a generous contribution from the AFAS Foundation we are able to:
- set up a local production facility
- employ 5 residence
- built 500 - 1.000 m² coral reef to restore a larger part of the local ecosystem
- attract tourists to Shimoni to stimulate the growth of local economy
In February 2023 we start building the local reef production factory!
To learn more about our journey, how we got this pilot started and what our plans are to restore a larger reef area check out the video!