Coral Nursery at Soneva Fushi in the making

We have been busy initiating our latest project here in the Maldives. Located on the stunning island of Soneva Fushi in the Baa Atoll, we have partnered with the Soneva Foundation to build what will be one of the largest coral nurseries in the world powered by mineral accretion technology (MAT). Large-scale restoration methods are required more and more in this decisive decade for coral reefs, and therefore we’ve installed a nursery with the capacity to grow over 50,000 coral fragments annually. Our ambitious aim to restore approximately 20 hectares of degraded reef is becoming reality here on Soneva Fushi. With the nursery implementation phase now complete, we are ready to populate our table structures with corals. Prior to this, we want to provide an update of how the installation phase progressed.

The operation kicked off with the deployment of all the material and equipment to the nursery site. This included 432 steel table structures and 25 concrete mooring blocks. These were then positioned as follows: 24 tables surrounding a mooring block make up one circle; 6 circles make up one cluster; and 3 clusters make up one of the world’s largest coral nurseries. We also set up a @sofarocean SmartBuoy to facilitate long term data collection. ‘MAT’ is a restoration technique that utilises low voltage electricity to speed up the growth rates of corals. The electricity source is land-based and delivered to the nursery via an underwater cable. Further, all 432 tables have been interconnected with copper wire to turn the nursery into one big cathodic structure. Our technical engineer installed the anodes at each central mooring block, and each anode was connected to one of three underwater ‘Netv6’ transformers located in the centre of a cluster. Electrical current now runs from land, to transformers located at the nursery, to the anodes in each circle, which travels to the cathodes (the steel table structures), and is circulated around the site, eventually coming back to the transformer to complete the circuit via cathode cables.

With the MAT set-up complete, it was time to smooth out some corners to complete our love for circles. The nursery site is prone to high currents and surges, so it was important to anchor all of our structures down to the seabed using a combination of underwater drilling, anchoring bolts, and steel cables. With a few finishing touches, including giving each table a unique code, the nursery is officially ready and the switch turned on.

As of mid-February, we are now right in the middle of our population phase, and the nursery already has some beautiful looking corals growing in their new home. We are so excited to share everything we’ve been doing this month, so stay tuned for more updates coming very soon. Please also take a moment to like and share our page so that we can spread the work we are doing.