Before and after - Impressive coral bommie restoration research project
In July 2018, Quicksilver embarked on an Australian-first collaborative reef research and restoration project with scientists from Reef Ecologic to restore a cyclone impacted coral bommie. Four years later, the results speak for themselves (see the video).
“This project has been highly successful with significant increase in coral coverage and survival of relocated colonies. Important knowledge has also been gained in reef resilience and coral nurturing techniques,” said Quicksilver Group Environment and Compliance Manager, Doug Baird.
Located at Quicksilver’s Agincourt 3 platform, the small coral bommie under restoration was impacted by cyclonic waves several years prior and with an unstable substrate, natural recovery was impeded.
With Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) approval, the project entailed the installation of six steel mesh panels of 1.5 x 3 metres size to grow coral ‘recruits’ of which three were initially connected to a power source. This was the first time this type of project had been conducted in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef.
“This was a marriage of science and innovation coming together and we’re extremely pleased with the fantastic outcome, building resilience into this site and enhancing this specific coral bommie. The platform was the perfect base for our team of marine biologists and trained divers to manage and regularly monitor progress,” said Tony Baker, Managing Director of the Quicksilver Group.
Coral reefs around the world are susceptible to many types of impacts both natural and man-made and coral nurturing research is highly topical. The Agincourt Reef project is just one of three collaborative projects the Quicksilver Group is currently undertaking, each using different techniques suited to the reef location.
Other projects are underway at Great Adventures Moore Reef and Green Island.
“We’ve learned a great deal through these coral nurturing projects and recognise it is not a ‘one size fits all’; different techniques are suited in specific applications,” said Doug Baird.
Commenced in 2019, the project at Great Adventures Moore Reef is a collaboration with University of Technology Sydney. Coral recruits are grown in a nursery, then using an innovative coral clip, are attached to the substrate.
In 2020, another innovative project was commenced at our Green Island “New York” site. This involved attaching coral fragments to a web of 165 hexagonal frame “Stars”, additional coral fragments attached with coral clips, as well as a trial of biodegradable cable ties. This is a multi-stakeholder project with partners including MARS Sustainable Solutions, GBRMPA & QPWS and Gunggandji Land and Sea Rangers.
“By making the project sites visible to divers and snorkellers, they can gain further understanding of reef systems and the type of research being done to support reef resilience and the long term sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef. Our marine biologists and master reef guides also provide the opportunity for guests to learn more about these projects during their reef experiences.”