Huvafen Fushi Coral Regeneration Program Called 'Stingray Reef'

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 16:50

At a time of increasing concern over the environment, Per AQUUM’s Huvafen Fushi, is taking steps to support the recovery of the Maldives' shallow reefs by appointing a resident marine biologist, Ulrike Kloiber.

Kloiber’s roll is to develop and manage the resorts’ own coral nursery and house reef rehabilitation project. ‘Huvafen Fushi’s island name, Nakatcha Fushi is especially significant as it is subject to one of the world’s first coral ‘cultivation’ programmes: a process described as ‘underwater gardening’ where Ulrike introduces ‘nubbins’ of nursery-grown coral to aid the survival of the reef.

As part of the coral initiative the house reef was recently named at a competition organised by The Hay Festival in London, for the UK’s younger generation to name a coral reef system in the Maldives. The winning name ‘Stingray Reef’ or ‘Madi Faru’ in the local Dhivehi language was thought of by 10-year-old London girl, Zsuza Maygar who was awarded by the President of the Maldives.

The cultivation programme – by which pieces of detached coral are cultivated in the nurseries before being transplanted to the reef – has been under way since 2007 and has so far resulted in over 1000 new ‘nubbins’ of coral taking root in the wild. The reefs have been described as ‘rainforests of the sea’ due to their high diversity of coral species.

“The results have been steady and encouraging. The reef around the underwater spa has developed and marine life has increased tremendously,’ says Ulrike.

Guests staying at the resort can also get involved by adopting their own coral for transplantation to the reef. Every guests’ coral will have its picture taken and tagged and regular updates are sent about their growth progress.

In addition, Huvafen Fushi has developed various activities for guests and research professionals to gain a better understanding about this beautiful and fragile environment. These include Night Snorkeling and SpaQuarium which is similar but keeps you dry!

A Touch Tank where Ulrike houses a cushion starfish, sea cucumbers and hermit crabs was created to generate awareness and educate guests prior to snorkeling, diving or even for those who do not go into the water.

The Coral regeneration programme is supported by Ulrika’s own “Blue Team” and InterMarine Consulting's Dr Robert Hilliard formerly the Principal Marine Environmental Scientist at leading US-based engineering design firm, URS and Steven Lindsay, independent marine consultant and marine environmental scientist. The project was recently visited by Dr Charles Anderson, a professional marine biologist who has lived and worked in the Maldives since 1983.


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