Project aims to rebuild local coral reefs kicks off

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Hong Kong’s first cross-sector collaborative project for local coral preservation and restoration was launched on Wednesday.

The Coral REEFStoration project, kicked off by the Sino Group; the Hong Kong Innovation Foundation; Ocean Park Corporation and archiREEF Limited, leverages Ocean Park’s marine conservation expertise and uses the world’s first 3D-printed reef tiles in terracotta to rehabilitate the coral reef habitat in Hong Kong’s southern waters by seeding rescued local coral fragments at the restoration site.

Coral reefs occupy about 1% of the ocean floor. In recent years, the coral communities have faced challenges such as climate change, marine pollution, habitat damage and overfishing activities, which significantly affect marine biodiversity and ecological balance. The rising sea temperatures have also intensified coral bleaching, leading to the extensive loss of coral communities.

The project will involve ecological research conducted at Deep Water Bay which will analyse past and current coral habitat conditions to reconstruct the original appearance of coral reefs and restore local coral species.

By utilising the reef tiles 3D-printed in terracotta, coral fragments can attach to the structure and have a higher chance of survival.

The reef tiles will be nurtured by a professional husbandry team at Ocean Park’s back-of-house coral nursery facility and be transferred to the seabed of Deep Water Bay upon rehabilitation and conservation, with continued monitoring of coral growth.

The project aims to rebuild 20 square metres of artificial reefs seeded with more than 120 pieces of rescued coral fragments over the next three years to recreate liveable habitats for local marine life.

Public engagement activities will also be launched to inspire children from 5 to 13 years old to understand the coral ecosystem and gain in-depth knowledge of coral conservation through snorkelling and hands-on coral husbandry experiences.