It’s safe to say 2016 was not a great year for Reef Recharge or for coral reefs in general around the world. The effects of coral bleaching were felt around the globe, with some reefs experiencing the worst bleaching event in decades. Although our project has been badly affected it could have been a lot worse.
Through the hard work of our team we have managed to steer the project towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Many frames have made good improvements in the past month or so with coral fragments looking particularly healthy. As long as we make it through the next couple of months without a spike in water temperature the coral fragments should be safely on the road to recovery.
Unfortunately bleaching isn’t the only issue our coral fragments are fighting against. As there is a huge shortage in the amount of healthy coral on the local reefs, fish and other animals are eating our healthy coral! The main culprit are Drupella Snails, these pesky blighters are eating the coral faster that it can recover! Corey has spend hours removing thousands of them, not only from our reef but also from local reefs, to reduce the effect they have on the ecosystem.
It is immediately after a bleaching event that animals like Drupella Snails and Crown of Thorns Starfish prey on the weakened coral, this in turn causes a population explosion and a downward spiral of health for the already suffering coral. Rest assured we are doing everything we can to halt the attack on our project, including regular snail raids.
Since noticing a positive change in the coral frames we have restarted planting new frames however with the shortage of healthy coral fragments we are still limited to what we can plant and existing coral frames are our priority. Our coral nurseries are once again brimming with fragments that have been rescued from the local area.