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To combat coral bleaching, Kenya turns to coral reef nurseries

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

Wasini, Kenya (AP) — A few minutes from mainland Kenya, the dense forest of Wasini Island is a coral reef recovery. It's one of the starting points. Initiatives in the western Indian Ocean. On a rare calm day of the normally raging monsoon season, four divers with measuring instruments, shoes and toothbrushes came down in turn to the submarine reef restoration site in the Straits of the Sea.

"We use coral debris from wild populations to make nurseries," said diver Yatin Patel before slipping into the turquoise waters. "After growing up, they are taken to a coral yard." Patel, part of the REEFolution Foundation, and his team cleaned the coral nurseries and were supported by plastic pipes and pyramidal steel nets. Measure the size of a growing coral.

In the waters jointly managed by the Foundation and the island community, more than 8,000 corals have been planted annually since 2012, and approximately 800 artificial reef structures have been placed in the waterways. It has been. Restore the gardens of Wasini's coral reefs. However, the project is threatened by rising costs and a planned fishing port in Simoni, just 3 km (1.9 miles) from the Kenyan coast.

The United Nations Maritime Conference, which begins Monday in Lisbon, Portugal, will return coral reef conservation and restoration efforts to the agenda. Small Island Developing States and Coastal African States follow up on access to "blue finance" mechanisms, including a $ 625 billion coral reef financing scheme aimed at conservation and recovery efforts and mitigation of communities that depend on the sea for their livelihoods. intend to do something. It also describes the European Union's previous efforts to restore coral reefs and coral reef insurance.

The threat of coral death reducing fish populations adds to the misery of East African communities. The spillover effect of the war in the Horn of Africa and Ukraine. In early March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued disastrous warnings about the threats facing African coastal and island nations and the complete collapse of corals in the western Indian Ocean.

The Coral Initiative on Wasini Island is one of many initiatives scattered on the west coast of Africa after a series of severe coral bleaching events due to seawater warming. After a particularly catastrophic year of 1998, the vast range of corals in the Indian Ocean, from Somalia to South Africa, was severely affected, primarily due to the natural meteorological phenomenon El Nino.

Coral bleaching occurs when corals wash away algae and bleach at the same time due to extreme temperatures and the glare of the sun. Although corals can tolerate the phenomenon of bleaching, they are exposed to greater stress and are unable to effectively support marine life, threatening coral-dependent populations.

Tim McClanahan, senior conservation zoologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, said 1998 was not the first such event. It occurred once in 1983 and since then three times in 2005 in the last 20 years. , 2010 and 2016. Massive coral bleaching epidemics along the western Indian Ocean have plagued scientists for decades. Intensive research is underway to understand and plan interventions to control the phenomenon. Many of these bleaching events are directly related to climate change, according to McClanahan.

The Wasini Coral Restoration Project, launched in 2012, traces the footsteps of Nature Seychelles, a conservation non-governmental organization in the Seychelles Islands that began the first coral reforestation in the western Indian Ocean. I followed. I exercised in the same year and it's still going on for more than 10 years. A similar project was carried out in Tanzania.

However, McClanahan said that especially the coral of Wasini was ill.

"There are some areas in Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar that are in better condition. We are working to protect those coral reefs," he said. He argued that the conservation program was far more successful than a program aimed at recovering severely bleached corals.

"We found it expensive and in the long run many of the corals we planted died," he said in a Wildlife Conservation Society coral restoration attempt. Said about. "Recovery work does not solve this large-scale problem."

Wasini Island's coral reef restoration project was destroyed and polluted by a proposed deep-sea fishing port on Simoni Island. We are also facing threats. The port is one of the key commitments made by the Government of Kenya at the first United Nations Marine Summit in Nairobi in 2018 and will be repeated at the Follow-up Summit in Lisbon on Monday.

According to the Associated Press's Environmental Impact Assessment Report, port construction will undermine corals, fish and other marine life due to the large amount of plume produced by dredging. ..


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