Coral Regeneration Project at Veligandu Island Resort & Spa, Maldives
Veligandu has two house reefs, abundant with marine life and blessed with soft corals and resident turtles. The west-facing house reef can be easily reached from the beach, while the north reef is a five-minute boat ride from the island.
With rising ocean temperatures brought about by global warming, coral bleaching is an alarming occurrence in the Maldives and all around the world. Corals play a vital role in the marine ecosystem providing food and habitats for many oceanic life species.
To protect and conserve the island’s reefs, the Veligandu team, in partnership with the Ocean Maldives, continues to enhance its commitment to the environment by launching a pilot project to help regenerate corals and ensure the reefs, aptly named the rainforests of the seas, remain healthy.
There are currently two coral frames installed on Veligadu reef, one of which is shaped like a hammerhead shark to honour Veligandu Hammerhead Shark Point, the Big Blue where guests can dive to see these elusive sharks.
How Do You Regenerate Corals?
The team collects naturally broken live corals from the sea bed, such as Acropora coral, small polyp stony corals, and other fast-growing species. The coral fragments are then attached to a frame which will act as the artificial reef scaffolding. The pieces need to be monitored during the growth process. Any dead fragments need to be replaced, and the frame structures must be maintained by scrubbing off growing algae.
Corals are delicate marine animals, and different coral species need the correct pressure, water temperature, ocean currents, and water quality to regenerate successfully. The artificial reef frames are placed in similar conditions, such as the underwater environment where the coral fragments are usuually found.
Guests can visit the reef where these coral frames are stationed whilst snorkelling and diving. Veligandu’s hammerhead shaped frame is placed visible for all guests to see from the surface, at about a depth of 5 meters (depending on the water level), on the house reef in front of the Water Sports Centre. Guests who dive can enjoy it more closely while exploring the house reef. The other smaller frames found their happy home on another side of the jetty.
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