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Pole to the rescue of corals - summary of Coral Mission activities

Thanks to the support of donors, work to replant nearly 2,000 corals in the Maldives has been able to begin. This was the only way to save the corals, which were written off due to the expansion of the local airport. Contributions from donors have helped Maria Sotek and her Coral Mission Foundation to launch
Published: June 16, 2022 - 09:00
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:55
Pole to the rescue of corals – summary of Coral Mission activities

Thanks to the support of donors, work to replant nearly 2,000 corals in the Maldives has been able to begin. This was the only way to save the corals, which were written off due to the expansion of the local airport.

Contributions from donors have helped Maria Sotek and her Coral Mission Foundation to launch an effort to save nearly 2,000 corals. The coral reef, which covers an area of over 30 hectares, has been condemned to extinction due to the expansion of the local airport in the Maldives.

The struggle against time

Unfortunately, reefing work is already underway at the site, which is making the volunteers’ efforts much more difficult and, even worse, is greatly accelerating the degradation of the coral reef. This is because the dust floating everywhere falls on the corals, causing them to fade and eventually die. Right now there is a dramatic struggle against time and unfortunately it is already certain that it will not be possible to replant the entire reef. Despite this Coral Mission volunteers do their best and believe that they are able to save around 1,000 more corals and countless sea creatures such as octopuses, squid and smaller fish that will not leave the reef and will die with it.

The current situation calls for haste and concrete action to collect the corals while they are still alive. We need to act now, because in a month’s time, it may be too late.

Thanks to the support of the Donors, we have raised almost 50% of the amount needed. Thank you very much for every donation! Thanks to this support we were able to start the work and bought the necessary equipment, including some steel for the frames, rented a boat and started the work of moving the corals says Maria Sotek about the Coral Mission.

An international team of committed volunteers has been assembled on site. At the moment it consists of Maria, Chibbe (Maldivian), Achim (German volunteer) and Ewa (Polish volunteer). Soon we will be joined by Ali (Maldivian) and other volunteers. They are all very committed and take turns collecting and planting corals and welding the frames needed to transplant the corals to the new location.

Repotting of corals

Certainly, many people have not even realised that corals can be replanted. However, it is possible and in this particular case necessary to save them from destruction. To do this, corals are removed from the original reef and placed in transport baskets. The baskets are then filled with sea water and put on a boat. Here it is very important that the water does not change its temperature, as corals are very sensitive to this. Therefore, the water is changed regularly during transport.

The new home of the rescued corals is located in the lagoon of Dhigura Island. This is where the nursery and the so-called “resting tables” located at a depth of 5.5 metres are located. As the whole process exposes the corals to tremendous stress, measures have to be taken. Stressed corals secrete mucus, which is their natural defence, so they first go to the “resting tables” to cool down. Once this has happened and they are no longer secreting a defensive substance, they are then carefully transferred to special racks located nearby. It is these that will form the final reef. It is worth noting that they are placed in similar conditions to the original reef. So far, Coral Mission volunteers have already managed to replant 350 corals.

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Reef dwellers

Moving also awaits the existing inhabitants of the reef. The first creature to be relocated was a teatrops. Recently, volunteers managed to safely transport a baby octopus and eight lilyfish. All of the rescued creatures will live on another reef, as the newly created one is still too small.

Costs

Like any initiative, although supported by the efforts of volunteers, this one also requires financial support. The biggest cost is the steel for the racks and the boat hire, as the foundation does not have its own. Nevertheless, the volunteers are doing their best to make the best use of the available funds in this fight against time.

You can find more information at the link below:

Save Maamigili Reef!

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About author

Marcin Pawełczyk
Marcin’s journey with diving has been an adventure. Starting as a recreational diver, he soon found himself drawn to the fascinating stories and mysteries of Baltic wrecks. After gaining experience, Marcin decided to go beyond just leisurely exploration and took his training up a notch by completing the TMX course, allowing him to explore even deeper and uncover the secrets of inaccessible places. His next challenge has been cave diving, where he is honing his skills to become a certified diver. Not content to simply take in the breathtaking beauty of underwater life, Marcin has also embraced underwater photography since 2018, capturing stunning shots that bring these worlds alive for those who are unable to experience them first-hand. Marcin’s passion for the underwater has taken him far and is sure to continue doing so as he dives into new depths and captures breathtaking images.
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