People, Environment

Hendurabi's Relocated Corals in Good Health

Bleaching due to rising sea temperatures is a serious threat to corals.Bleaching due to rising sea temperatures is a serious threat to corals.

The coral reefs around Hendurabi Island in the Persian Gulf, which were moved to a new location two years ago to make way for development projects, are faring well, said an official at Kish Free Zone Organization.

Ramin Afshari, deputy for construction and infrastructure at KFZO, added that "over 90% of the relocated corals are alive and in good health," IRNA reported.

The corals had to be moved for a project to build dykes in the eastern and western regions of the island. The project required a total of six hectares for the foundation of the dykes, so a team of environmental experts along with 15 to 30 divers were put to work to move 60,000 corals to a new home.

Afshari said the divers' team was always 150 meters ahead of the construction area, clearing the seabed.

The relocation was done on a 12-billion-rial ($320,000) budget.

"Extensive studies were carried out prior to the project to identify an ecologically similar location for the corals and the reefs were eventually moved to two sites about a mile (1.6 km) from their home," he added.

Since corals need a hard bed to stand on, they were placed on concrete and steel blocks.

To ensure the survival of the threatened species, a five-year monitoring program has been launched. The corals will initially be checked biennially and later on a yearly basis.

Corals are sensitive to temperature changes, particularly to a rise in temperature, which leads to a phenomenon called bleaching.  Afshari said the corals have survived two summers, which is a good sign.

"Other marine animals that live symbiotically with corals are also in good condition," he said.

The corals currently occupy three hectares of the seabed and have been orderly arranged as compared to their original patchy and natural distribution.

Hendurabi is an island on the Persian Gulf to the west of Kish Island. In 2011, it became part of Kish Free Zone. It is a rather flat area with low hilltops and coasts that gently slope down to the sea.


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