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Niue establishes its first coral nursery

10 October 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

The first coral nursery in Niue has been established, hoping to restore and preserve coral in the face of warming sea temperatures.

Photo/ Supplied.

Diving professional Rami Oved and his volunteers began working in November last year to set up the nursery located 100 metres from Alofi South wharf.

The nursery now has 300 fragments of the Acropora Florida species, with a 95 per cent success rate.

"We set up the first nursery, just very small, to see if it would survive the cyclone season and survive it did. In April 2018 we tripled the size of the nursery."

"Now we have 300 fragments. The first ones planted in April are doing so well, growing shoots and it'll probably be ready in six months."

Oved owns a diving business in Niue and lives underwater most of his days inspecting coral. 

"It was really heartbreaking to see how many corals are dying, although Niue has very beautiful coral gardens but many corals have died."

Oved says not only does he want to save coral but also to cultivate super corals that are resistant to diseases and bleaching events.

"I used to take divers to show them what the debris looks like after a massive bleaching event. There was not even one single creature or fish in that area which was a demonstration for me personally that when corals die, everything in the reef dies with it."

"The idea is to restore what has been lost not with regular corals but with super corals, they're the ones that have adapted to high water temperatures."

Photo/ Supplied.

The voluntary work is all funded by Oved's business, Magical Niue Sea Adventures.

He says he's not worried about the funds he's putting into the nursery, but would like people to know the importance of coral.

"Most people worldwide don't understand coral... don't understand the importance of coral. The coral ecosystem is one of the most sensitive in the world and one of the most important. If we lose the corals in Niue, the reef will die and everything will die with it and the implications for the local way of living and tourism will be a lot bigger than people think."

Plans are underway to set up a second nursery for another type of coral species.

Tags: Niue,