Save Koh Tao: Building a Coral Nursery

Posted by on March 22, 2012
dive briefing on the boat

Dive briefing on the boat

A few weeks back I had the chance to take part in an extraordinary eco project. Together with about 15 divemaster trainees and instructors Ban’s Diving and Save Koh Tao we built a coral nursery near the reef at Sairee Beach. Although I could write lots of stuff about it, this post (again) is mostly about the pictures.

There are a few things though, that I would like to say, because maybe it will open the eyes of some people how important it is to save our planet.

How to Build a Coral Nursery

the only time I can do this

The only time I can do this

Before we went out to actually built it, we spent a morning learning about corals from an actual marine biologist at the Save Koh Tao office. It was amazing. I never quite knew if corals are plants or animals. Now I know. For those who are not sure: Corals are animals, very similar to jellyfish that live on the skeleton. One coral is actually hundreds of little polyps.

We also learned what dead or dying coral look like and what we needed to do to save them. It was really interesting to learn about that. I would spend the time to actually tell you the details, but I am not sure I would get it right.

lee-collecting-coral

Collecting coral

On our first dive we collected coral fragments of coral that are broken off and seem to be dying. We had to make sure to remember at which depth we got it because the coral should not be moved from one depth to another to increase the chances of its survival.

After the dive we prepared the coral on the boat for the second dive where we placed the coral on tables that have previously been built. Some coral have been placed on an underwater house structure to stay there for good while, other fragments have been put into tubes and places on the tables so it could grow and we can move it in a couple of years to a more stable structure.

Overall it was a very, very interesting experience.

coral nursery tubes

Coral nursery tubes

The only drawback is that now I know what dying coral looks like and I see it everywhere. I always thought that the reef at Koh Tao was in great shape, but it’s actually not looking that good.

So what can you do to save Koh Tao (or any other place). Stop using plastic bags or reuse them. Stop diving with dive resorts that don’t care about the environment. Stop staying at resorts that don’t have a septic tank but instead dump all the waste water directly into the ocean. It only takes a few more minutes to do the research and find places that are environmentally friendly.

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