York Hovest met Andrew Hewett during his global ocean protection project „Heroes of the Sea“ in 2017. Due to his work and his dedication Andrew is one of the remarkable heroes who is still putting all his effort into the recovery of the dying coral reefs in the Andaman Sea. In April 2006 the Phuket Marine Biology Center, approached Andrew and his diving centre The Adventure Club to consider ideas fro installing an floating coral nursery at the Phi Phi Islands. The concept of the nursery originated from researchers with the National Institute of Oceanography in Israel who participated in a cooperative research project with the PMBC and researchers from 4 other countries; UK, Italy, Singapore and Philippines, under the programme “Developing ubiquitous practices for restoration of Indo-Pacific reefs”, aka REEFRES, supported by the European Commission.
The nursery method is a way of cultivating coral fragments using traditional forestation techniques. By removing limited amounts of coral fragments this reduces the impact to the donor colonies and aids reproduction of new coral colonies. Since the nursery is suspended above the substrate, it allows the coral fragments to grow with reduced threats from corallivores, such as parrotfish, crown of thorns and drupella snails. The coral nursery and artificial reef programs have been initiated as a tool to highlight the problems facing coral reefs around the world and to educate people that are dependent on the sea to reconsider the methods they use that could reduce the impact on our oceans.Growing corals is both time consuming, slow and very expensive considering the amount of corals that can be produced in one year. Therefore focus has been directed towards promoting sustainable tourism and highlighting the need for greater protection of coral reefs and marine resources rather than attempting to replant thousands of hectares of coral reef.
This promotes the concept that if greater awareness can help reduce the anthropogenic impacts on reefs on a wider scale, then this will help to improve the reef’s natural ability for reproduction and self-restoration.
Photo Credits: ©yorkhovest