Coral makes a comeback at Anantara Maldives
The news comes three years into the resort’s five-year HARP programme
In the South Male Atoll, the coral gardens at Anantara Maldives are beginning to flourish. A recent field study by marine biologist Dr. Andy Bruckner revealed that rehabilitation efforts have encouraged extraordinary growth across the coral nurseries of Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort and Naladhu Private Island Maldives.
The news comes three years into the five-year HARP (Holistic Approach to Reef Protection) programme funded by donations from Anantara guests through the Dollars for Deeds initiative. The programme focuses on maintaining and expanding coral nurseries around the lagoon, planting healthy nursery corals onto damaged reefs and growing the corals within the Aqua Bar snorkel trail while closely monitoring the health of reefs further afield to build an accurate picture of the Maldives’ coral health.
Dr. Bruckner, chief scientist of the HARP programme, reported up to 15 centimetres of coral growth over the last year in the resorts’ nurseries. To grow the nurseries, fragments of rescued coral are carefully attached to ropes and tables in positions where they are most likely to thrive. Guests are also invited to take part in a hands-on experience of replanting the corals in this way.
Four coral nurseries all showed impressive growth, with up to 1,000 times the coral biomass that existed when the programme began, with almost 1,500 new corals planted.
“The Maldives is highly dependent on its breathtaking and world famous coral reefs, not just for tourism but for industries such as fishing,” said Minor Hotels director of conservation John Roberts. “Coral reef programmes such as HARP play a fundamental role in food provision, shoreline protection, tourism revenue and ultimately the enjoyment of guests visiting Anantara Maldives.”
The reefs and coral gardens of Anantara Maldives are home to marine life including clownfish, parrot fish, reef sharks and different species of shoal fish, with turtles, eagle rays and dolphins frequent visitors to the lagoon.