People, Environment

Coral Aquaculture in Hengam

Coral Aquaculture in HengamCoral Aquaculture in Hengam

Work to restore coral populations off the coasts of Hengam Island in the Persian Gulf is underway, according to the director of the Coral Aquaculture Project.

Speaking to the media during the program’s inauguration last week, Hussein Aqakhani said the project has financial backing from private stakeholders. He did not name names.

The project has a budget of 17 billion rials ($472,000), he was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The program aims to repopulate three endemic species of coral — silver (Acropora downingi), staghorn (Acropora cervicornis), and boulder star (Orbicella annularis).

Last September, reports emerged that the rate of coral bleaching around the islands of Kish, Qeshm and Hengam is speeding up due to the gradual rise in global temperatures.

While coral bleaching reverses after summer when temperatures drop, consistently high temperatures in recent years have ensured corals receive no respite to recover.

In addition to climate change, water pollution caused by industrial activity in the coasts has also contributed to the demise of coral reefs.

If the project produces the desired results on Hengam Island, it will be implemented on other islands in the Persian Gulf. The first phase of the program targets coral farming in about 2 hectares of coastal areas, with the second phase expanding the area to about 60 hectares.