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Green Island reef regeneration project shows impressive progress

31st of January 2023
Green Island reef regeneration project shows impressive progress

A little over two years on from the commencement of an innovative five-year reef regeneration project at a Green Island reef, the site is already providing a healthy reef habitat for marine life. 

Located at Great Adventures “New York” dive and snorkel site offshore from Green Island, the collaborative reef resilience project is showcasing leading-edge techniques and tools for protecting coral reef ecosytems. 

In November 2020, the project involved the installation of 165 hexagonal metal frames “MARRS Stars” (Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System) as a coral rubble stabilisation technique. Then two techniques were used to attach over 2600 coral fragments to the web of frames – using both conventional and biodegradable (potato starch) cable ties.

During recent monitoring, Quicksilver Group Environment and Compliance Manager, Doug Baird, said the coral growth has been exceptional. What is particularly pleasing is to see the diverse species of fish, rays and turtles living amongst the healthy corals. 

“It is very satisfying for all involved to see the project achieving what we set out to do, that is, to stabilise an area of loose coral rubble with the frames becoming permanent structures covered by coral growth for a thriving marine habitat.  

Our reef stewardship team of marine biologists and trained divers will continue to monitor coral coverage, species diversity, coral mortality and will be “gardening” to remove any natural coral predators such as crown of thorns starfish.“

Coral rubble (broken or dead coral) is a natural part of any coral reef and can be caused by wave action, cyclones, fish predation or bleaching events. As the unstable rubble impedes natural recovery, the MARRS stars have provided an ideal solution to assist rejuvenation in this circumstance at Green Island. 

The Green Island site is one of three collaborative coral resilience projects the Quicksilver Group has undertaken, each using different techniques. The others being located at Great Adventures Moore Reef (Coral Nurture Program) using Coralclips® and Quicksilver Cruises Agincourt Reef 3 platform.  

The knowledge gained from these projects and the type of techniques suited to different areas, will aid scientific understanding and the long term management of not only the Great Barrier Reef, but reefs world-wide.

The multi-stakeholder project is a collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, MARS Sustainable Solutions, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Gunggandji Land and Sea Rangers, reef operators and research organisations.