In 2014, Gili Lankanfushi became the first resort in the Maldives to successfully embark on a Coral Lines Project. By nursing coral fragments on ropes, the project aims to replenish the diminishing coral population by transplanting the grown fragments directly onto the local reef.
Sarah Davies, a marine biologist at Gili Lankanfushi, explains that coral fragments are first collected and attached to five-metre long ropes. The ropes, or lines, are then tied to a frame and suspended about five metres below the ocean surface. The coral fragments are protected and maintained over a period of three years, before being transplanted onto the reef.
This innovative strategy has proven to be one of the fastest ways to grow and re-populate corals. In one and a half years, a three-centimetre fragment can grow to between 20 and 30 centimetres, when it would be large enough to be transplanted. Suspending the coral lines in midwater also reduces the risk of predation from coral-eating animals.
To date, there are altogether over 200 coral lines, each with about 40 coral fragments growing on it. The fragments are monitored every three months for size and survival, and the findings are logged on an online database and shared openly to give the scientific community a better understanding of how to grow coral.
Guests at Gili Lankanfushi can also do their part in coral conservation by donating coral lines. The proceeds not only contribute towards coral reef rehabilitation science but fund Gili’s other environmental and sustainability projects too.
These efforts are all part of the resort’s Social and Environmental Awareness & Sustainability policy, in a bid to save the ocean.
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