The Coral Reef Conservation Project – Our Commitment to Preserving the Coral Reef
Why are coral reefs so important?
More than 500 million people depend on coral reefs for their livelihood, and the extinction of this underwater rainforest could lead to warming sea-surface temperatures, expanding ocean acidification and lessen the protection from natural sea-related disasters.
- Coral reefs support 25% of all marine species in the globe.
- Reefs offer crucial protection from life-threatening storms and hurricanes.
- The reef absorbs energy from Tsunamis.
- Coral absorbs elements from the ocean.
- The reef offers environmental protection via the reduction of coastal erosion.
- Corals protect ecosystems between the coast and the reef.
Coral reef and the 2004 Tsunamis
In 2004, a tsunami with waves reaching 30 feet (9 metres) hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Myanmar, Malaysia and many other countries. This tsunami was the worst natural disaster in Indonesia’s history and claimed the lives of more 227,898 people across 14 countries (Wikipedia). This disaster was caused by an earthquake – this caused a rupture along the fault lines between the Indian Plate and the Burma Plate, resulting in underwater seismic activity that caused a series of tsunamis.
When it reached offshore islands in Peninsular Malaysia (where Lagkawi is located), it was shielded by the full force of the tsunami due to the protection offered by the island of Sumatra, just off the western coast. Alongside this, outlying areas of corals lessened the impact of the waves.
Because the agriculture and aquaculture took most of the impact, fishing, livelihood and food supplies were seriously impeded due to the damage. There was 30% damage to 97,250 ha of reefs, with damage differing across the coastline (Living Oceans Foundation). Some reefs had structural damage, some were minimally affected and others completely destroyed. However, what is concerning is that the most serious (and common) ongoing threats to corals are from rubbish and debris washed into the ocean, pollution, overfishing and unsustainable development. Unless reefs are left alone and there is no environmental stress, they will not recover.
Our commitment to preserving the coral reef
While the conservation of coral requires so much more than a small project, we’re committed to doing everything we can to preserve the corals in Langkawi. It is our aim to introduce and implement a strategy in the active management of the reef ecosystem, as coral reefs are easily threatened by climate change and anthropogenic (environmental pollutants) stressors.
The project is taking place on one of two man-made islands in the area, Paradise 101. Paradise was constructed near Pantai Kok in the late 1990s as a wave-breaker to protect Langkawi island from possible tidal waves.
How are we preserving coral reef in Langkawi?
We began this preservation project by laying 30 corals (weighing between 3kg to 40kg each) in a protective cove within a 100 sq ft area of seabed off the beachfront facing Telaga Harbour.
During the high-tide, this cove is about 1.5m deep and is completely off limits to watersport and boating activities. This means the marine life will have enough space and the right environment to mature over the years; it will take hundreds of years for these corals to blossom into a tropical rainforest of the sea.
Watersports crew member and volunteer for Naam’s Coral Conservation Project, Kamal, said that corals would be left to grow within an area that’s protected from stressors that could damage reef health.
“The shallow tropical site is now off-limits to watersports and boating activities. We have zoned up the area in the hope that it will be conducive to reef habitation and growth. This is just a trial. “In future, who knows, we could hire experts such as marine biologists to identify the best strands of coral for potential re-seeding efforts in the Andaman Seas”
The coral reefs need to be checked daily, require shallow, clear waters where sunlight can reach them. They also need warm water temperature to survive. Around 20 to 32 degrees Celsius is an ideal temperature.