Climate Watch

Vuda Marina Leads Charge In Coral Planting

The programme promotes sustainable management and conservation of global marine ecosystems, develops Aquaculture and Mariculture for the protection of the environment, and contributes to rural communities through training and economic support.
19 Sep 2022 11:49
Vuda Marina Leads Charge In Coral Planting
Aquaculture Development for the Environment (ADE) Coral planter in Vuda Marina Fiji, team leader Necani Nabuka (right) and Ratu Vasuca ready to take the coral rack to the coral nursery. Photo: Kelera-Sovasiga Tuisawau

Corals continue to play a key role in reef ecosystems as it protects coastlines from erosion, storms, nurseries for fishes and it offers an opportunity for recreation.

Located 20 minutes away from Lautoka City, Vuda Marina Fiji has taken on an incredible initiative to plant 4000 coral fragments into two of their selected nursery pools.

The goal is to plant a total of 24,000 corals out in the reefs every year.

 

Out near the reclaimed land at the Vuda Marina sits coral nurseries that will be transplanted after three months.

These mature corals will be replanted into the reefs around Vuda Marina.

The initiative is to promote awareness on ocean stewardship and involvement of communities especially children to see first-hand the importance of corals in our marine ecosystem.

 

THE IDEA

The Vuda Marina is a commercial, yet unique complex located at Vuda Point. It is a hub for yachtsmen and women travelling to the South Pacific during the southern hemisphere winter.

The marina is managed by power couple Lisa Philp and Adam Wade, who are both passionate about oceans along with the experience and family background of sailing.

“Corals are sensitive creatures as they are very sensitive to changes in temperature so if the water is always warm it can cause corals to bleach,” director Ms Philp said.

 

“The ocean is warming because of climate change, and we cannot just sit back and watch. So, the idea of coral planting for us here in Vuda was to create this awareness about ocean stewardship and teach our young ones the importance of the environment,” she said.

For this reason, they partnered with a non-profit organisation from the United States, based here and known as the Aquaculture Development for the Environment (ADE).

ADE is passionate about coral reef conservation and restoration projects within Fiji and around the world.

Aquaculture Development for the Environment (ADE) Coral planter in Vuda Marina Fiji, team leader Necani Nabuka (right) and Ratu Vasuca ready to take the coral rack to the coral nursery. Photo: Kelera-Sovasiga Tuisawau

Aquaculture Development for the Environment (ADE) Coral planter in Vuda Marina Fiji, team leader Necani Nabuka (right) and Ratu Vasuca ready to take the coral rack to the coral nursery. Photo: Kelera-Sovasiga Tuisawau

The programme promotes sustainable management and conservation of global marine ecosystems, develops Aquaculture and Mariculture for the protection of the environment, and contributes to rural communities through training and economic support.

Coral reef restoration expert, Martin Moe, says: “Corals are only one of the keystone species that make up the ecosystems of coral reefs. It is the coral reef ecosystems that must be restored on a permanent basis before coral reefs can once again flourish in tropical waters of planet Earth.”

 

CORAL PLANTING

With more than a decade of experience in coral planting, Necani Nabuka is leading the team on behalf of ADE to plant and restore corals at the Vuda Marina.

With a team of about four men, their daily routine includes making a coral fragment based on cement, sand and oxide colour.

“We have seen many ways of coral planting, but this technique is one of the easiest, however it is costly,” Mr Nabuka said.

 

“Acropora corals are one of the most common coral fragments we are planting here in Vuda Marina. Others include Green Pocillopora, tabletop corals, catchpole corals just to name a few.”

Mr Nabuka also led the team in planting corals at the opening of the Seventh Heaven floating bar and restaurant in the Mamanuca group. One of the many sites that ADE has completed its work in.

“Corals spawn year after year and when people undermine its importance it hurts the ecosystem, and it hurts us too so creating constant awareness for people is effort not wasted.”

 

Mr Nabuka is also careful and particular with the site to place the coral racks.

“I look at the water temperature before deciding the best place to put the racks. We will revisit the nurseries to identify the strong survivors and then utilise the clones for replanting,” he said.

He applauds the management of Vuda Marina Fiji for reaching out to ADE to instil a new-found tradition of coral planting.

“Corals beautify our reefs, and it becomes a tourist attraction for those who love to explore the beauty of reefs through snorkelling

 

THE PROCESS

ADE provides artificial bases that have been developed to be utilised for permanent reef implants. Director Ms Philp and Mr Adam Wade are committed to giving their staff the opportunity to learn about coral planting and its maintenance.

Mr Nabuka will be training a few staff members that will monitor the nurseries once ADE has completed their work at the Marina.

“When the staff will grasp the idea and technique of coral planting, they can easily produce 400 new coral clones per day. All these contribute to the target that the Managers are aiming for,” he said.

Aquaculture Development for the Environment (ADE) Coral planter in Vuda Marina Fiji,  team leader Necani Nabuka preparing the artificial base for the coral fragments.  Photo: Kelera-Sovasiga Tuisawau

Aquaculture Development for the Environment (ADE) Coral planter in Vuda Marina Fiji,
team leader Necani Nabuka preparing the artificial base for the coral fragments. Photo: Kelera-Sovasiga Tuisawau

Once the clones are ready, they are taken to the site and carefully plant the new coral on specially designed farm racks provided by ADE.

After three months, the corals will be ready to be planted on the nearby reef.

These coral reefs also provide food security and a healthier ecosystem for future generation and the future of Vuda Marina Fiji.

 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

For the past 10 years and counting, Vuda Marina has also been heavily involved in planting mangroves along the coastlines.

This is to prevent erosion and to also absorb storm surge impacts during extreme weather events such as hurricanes. Other developments in the last two years have included the newly built recreational island.

“With our background in sailing, we strongly believe in strengthening communities and promoting ocean stewardship, so we have an area where we teach kids sailing through an outreach programme with the Uto ni Yalo that started this year,” Ms Philip said.

 

“On our last outreach we had about 250 kids come from three nearby villages. They were taught traditional navigation and outrigger canoeing.”

Walking around the recreational park, one will notice the different types of plants around the area.

“These plants are indigenous to the Mamanuca and the Yasawa group of islands. Some are medicinal plants so when we have awareness programs, kids are taught all these and its importance,” she said.

An ocean pool, skate ramp and yoga deck is also available in the park with progress work still done on having work out stations.

 

Feedback: kelera.sovasiga@fijisun.com.fj



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