Coral propagation / Asian Scientist Magazine

Corals: The Turn Of The Tide

Corals are dying but science could be able to help them fight back from the brink.

AsianScientist (Dec. 5, 2019) – By Amanda Bambby Cheuk – Fully clad in a wet suit, eager divers dip their flippers into the cool and almost transparent water. They plunge down into the sea and instead of seeing a technicolor reef, they see endless fields of ghostly pale corals. They are looking at Okinawa’s natural coral reefs, of which at least half have been destroyed.

Aside from the ravaging effects of climate change, human factors such as unsustainable tourism, coastal developments and excessive fishing have aggravated Okinawa’s fragile coral ecosystem. Today, the Japanese prefecture is hard pressed for solutions. Okinawa is found at the edge of The Coral Triangle, where three quarters of the entire world’s coral species lie.

More than 500 million people around the world depend on coral reefs for food, income and coastal protection, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Primed with state-of-the-art technology, committed researchers and proximity to one of the most diverse coral reefs in the world, Okinawa takes a multi-pronged approach of restoration, conservation and perhaps genetic modification to save its corals.

When it comes to coral farming, there are two applications that the locals turn to, namely land-based nurseries and ocean-based nurseries.

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