Swiss-based environmental organization, Coralive has initiated their latest project in the Maldives. In partnership with Soneva and Ark2030, they will be building one of the largest coral nurseries in the world powered by mineral accretion technology (MAT) at Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll.
The nursery has the capacity to grow over 50,000 coral fragments annually. The aim of this project is to see the restoration of approximately 40 hectares of degraded reef becoming a reality on Soneva Fushi, says Coralive.
The nursery implementation operation kicked off with the deployment of all the material and equipment to the nursery site. This included 432 steel table structures and 25 concrete mooring blocks. These were then positioned as follows: 24 tables surrounding a mooring block make up one circle; 6 circles make up one cluster; and 3 clusters make up one of the world’s largest coral nurseries.
A @sofarocean SmartBuoy was also set up to facilitate long term data collection. ‘MAT’ is a restoration technique that utilizes low voltage electricity to speed up the growth rates of corals. The electricity source is land-based and delivered to the nursery via an underwater cable. Further, all 432 tables have been interconnected with copper wire to turn the nursery into one big cathodic structure. Our technical engineer installed the anodes at each central mooring block, and each anode was connected to one of three underwater ‘Netv6’ transformers located in the centre of a cluster. Electrical current now runs from land, to transformers located at the nursery, to the anodes in each circle, which travels to the cathodes (the steel table structures), and is circulated around the site, eventually coming back to the transformer to complete the circuit via cathode cables.
The nursery site is prone to high currents and surges, so it was important to anchor all of the structures down to the seabed using a combination of underwater drilling, anchoring bolts, and steel cables. With a few finishing touches, including giving each table a unique code, the nursery is officially ready and the switch turned on.
As of mid-February, the project is in the middle of the population phase, and the nursery already has some beautiful looking corals growing in their new home. Follow Coralive for the latest updates on the growth of the nursery.
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