The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) is breaking ground on a mega project to install natural rock barriers in coastal areas across the UAE.

The barriers are anticipated to recreate natural habitats and breeding grounds for marine creatures, particularly corals, and thereby preserve and strengthen the country’s aquatic biodiversity. They will also help protect the UAE’s coastline against storm damage and erosion.

His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Salah Al Rayssi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Biodiversity and Marine Life Sector at MOCCAE, were present for the implementation of the project’s pilot phase along the shores of Umm Al Quwain beaches, with rocks installed at depths ranging between five- and 15-meters. Ahead of installing rock barriers onsite, representatives of the Ministry cultivated three species of corals on the rocks: Acropora, Porites, and Stylophora. The growth of the coral cultures will be monitored over a long-term period.

Al Rayssi said: “This project aligns with the Ministry’s strategy to sustain local biodiversity through restoring natural habitats and building artificial ones for species to breed and flourish. MOCCAE has put in place an integrated rehabilitation program for coastal areas in the UAE, which encompasses the installation of artificial caves and tidal pools, as well as rock barriers and the cultivation of coral reefs.”

In addition, the project will include the restoration of coral reefs through leveraging the micro-fragmentation technique. The technique comprises breaking the corals into smaller pieces that are one- to two-centimeters long ahead of planting them. According to MOCCAE’s preliminary experiments, this promising method stimulates the coral tissue to grow two- to three-fold compared to the conventional fragmentation method. Moreover, coral reefs that grow using micro-fragmentation have an 80 percent higher chance of survival. 

 

Source: APCO Worldwide

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