With corals and coral reefs facing increasing threats, coral restoration has become a growing tool for conservation and marine management practitioners.
In order to bolster the ongoing coral restoration efforts in Fiji, Reef Explorer recently conducted six one-week pieces of training focused on building fundamental knowledge, skills, and providing guidance on how to incorporate key principles in order to optimize the ecological outcomes of coral restoration efforts.
The training catered to 23 participants, all currently involved in coral restoration efforts, who came from resort and tourism operations, community-based efforts, and Fiji’s Ministry of Fisheries.
During the training, participants were taught about and gained hands-on experience in 1) selecting suitable restoration areas and developing restoration strategies, 2) designing, assembling, and deploying coral nurseries, 3) selecting suitable donor colonies and propagating new coral colonies, 4) coral transplantation strategies and various methods of reattaching coral colonies, and 5) predator control and other activities that can improve the outcome of coral restoration efforts.
As a part of their in-water practical training, participants assisted Reef Explorer’s Conservation Assistants with the transplantation of over 4000 corals from nurseries back to the reef, the installation of two new coral nurseries, the propagation of over 6500 new coral colonies, and the removal of over 1000 coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish from the coral restoration sites and surrounding reef areas.