The tourism economy in Australia is on hold right now so scuba diving tours are repurposing their free boats and other vessels to restore the coral treasure in the Great Barrier Reef.
A donation by Passions of Paradise
One of Australia’s dive tour operators, Passions of Paradise has decided to donate a catamaran and some fuel for this project. The crew also volunteered to take part in the coral planting project on the Great Barrier Reef.
Passions of Paradise’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Garden said that it was an honor to donate their greatest catamaran Passions III to take four volunteers of the crew and a scientist to Hastings Reef.
The coordinator of the Coral Nurture Program, Lorna Howlett, said that beside Passions of Paradise, four more companies participated – Ocean Freedom, Wavelength, Quicksilver Cruises, and Sailaway.
Around 1000 coral pieces have been found and planted in the waters of Hastings Reef
The project coordinator Lorna Howlett said that the program involved installing frames where the coral would be planted, eradicating the dangerous starfish that eat the coral polyps and looking for coral fragments that can be planted.
The coral fragments have to be from the same area and they naturally break off from the main coral so they can be found on the seafloor. Then they are attached to the reef using a coral clip. It takes around a year for the coral to grow so that is the planned time for the project as well.
If everything goes well, Lorna and everyone involved hope that next year when tourists come back they will be able to snorkel and enjoy the view of healthy marine life in Hastings Reef.
If you want to help, here are some ways you can do that
There are many things you can do to help preserve the coral reef health even if you live far away:
- Don’t waste water – If you don’t use that much water, then less wastewater will go into the oceans.
- Choose sustainable seafood – for more info on how to better choose your seafood visit fish watch.
- Be a volunteer – Help local cleanups of beaches or reefs if you live close to a water body.
- Don’t buy corals as gifts – It takes decades for a coral to form a structure so let’s leave them on the reef where they can be appreciated in their natural beauty.
- Use long-lasting light bulbs – Be as energy-efficient as possible. That will help against climate change which is a big threat to the survival of corals.
- If you decide to go diving, don’t touch the corals – Have in mind that the coral reefs are alive and they don’t like to be disturbed.
- Make sure your sunscreen is nature friendly – Check the ingredients that the sunscreen you use is not harmful to marine life. You find out more about that on oceanservice.noaa.gov/sunscreen
- Don’t drain chemicals in the waterways – Fertilizers and other nutrients can cause algae to grow much more than it should and it can block the sunlight that corals need.There are so many things to take into consideration when you visit a coral reef or any coastal area. Get help from local guides and keep nature clean. Educate yourself about the importance of corals and coral reefs for all the marine life and all the people and plants that depend on them. If you’re excited to help, more people will follow your steps.