Coastal Impact

Lesser-known Habitats Grant 2019

Project Name:

Coral Transplantation Aids for Preservation of Coral Patches off the coast of Goa

Project Brief:

Coral reefs are one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world, providing food and livelihood for more than two billion people worldwide. They are also one of the world’s most fragile ecosystems due to their high susceptibility to environmental changes. Although most of the coral reef areas country are protected under Indian Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, reefs of Goa have not yet received any conservation attention. Coral transplantation aims to re-establish self-sustaining and resilient ecosystems that result in an immediate increase in live coral cover. This also augments biodiversity and improves the aesthetics of less diverse and abundant reef habitats.

Project objectives:
  • Implement coral transplantation remedies for maintaining and repairing coral reefs of Goa.
  • Rescue opportunistic coral fragments and maintain an in- situ nursery.
  • Multiplication of coral fragments using micro fragmentation.
  • Install permanent mooring points to avoid anchor damage.
Highlights from the field:
  • The project kicked off with the survey of reefs surrounding the three target islands in Goa – Piquino, St George and Grande Islands. The surveys revealed extensive damage to the reefs and incidents of coral bleaching, but they also showed a healthy diversity of marine life persisting in these reefs.
  • To prevent further damage to the corals, three mooring buoys have been deployed under the project, two around Suzy’s wreck and one at the Coral Garden. Two more buoys will be deployed post the monsoon season.
  • As a part of the coral transplantation activities, two large, naturally broken coral fragments measuring about one foot in length were collected, and carefully transported to the in-situ nursery site in Shelter Cove, Grande Island. They were stored in seawater during the transport, to replicate its natural environment.
  • Working underwater, the team carefully cut down the coral pieces into 14, small fragments of 2 sq cm each. They are being regularly monitored and since this is a first of its kind initiative for the team, necessary adjustments are being incorporated in consultation with other coral experts to give the coral the best shot at regeneration.