His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, representative of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in the Al Dhafra region, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, launched the largest coral reef rehabilitation project in the region, including the cultivation of more than one million coral reef colonies, with the aim of increasing their area in the emirate.
The launch coincides with World Oceans Day, which falls on June 8 every year.
His Highness stressed the importance of this project in supporting the efforts made by the authority to preserve coral reefs, which are considered one of the most important and most productive marine habitats, as they support biodiversity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and provide a natural habitat for many types of fish and marine organisms, in addition to its role in protecting beaches from Erosion and support for the profession of commercial fishing, and many recreational and tourism activities in the emirate, as it is considered a tributary to support the fish stock.
His Highness continued: “Despite the difficult environmental conditions in which coral reefs live in the Arabian Gulf region, and in the world, they are able to thrive and provide habitats for a variety of marine species in the region. They have high flexibility that enabled them to adapt to the highest temperatures. Unusually globally, which distinguishes it from the rest of the other types of coral reefs in the world.”
His Highness said on Twitter: “On the occasion of World Oceans Day, we launched the largest coral reef rehabilitation project in the region, a project aimed at cultivating more than one million coral reef colonies in Abu Dhabi to increase its area, ensure its continuity and preserve it from negative and climatic influences and support fish wealth.”
His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi, Minister of State for Defense Affairs and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said: “Abu Dhabi alone contains 34 different species of hard corals spread in several regions, including Ras Ghanada, Bu Tinah, Saadiyat and Al Nouf.
Through the implementation of this program, coral nurseries will be developed that will contribute to reducing the negative impact of the natural pressures on coral reefs resulting from climate change and the rise in sea floor temperatures. The great heritage, economic and scientific value of coral reefs.”
Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, stressed: The most important challenge facing coral reefs is the high water temperature, which increases heat stress on coral reefs, which results in the phenomenon of “coral bleaching”, noting that in 2017, Abu Dhabi lost more than 73 % of coral reefs due to the bleaching phenomenon.
Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the authority, said: “Since 2005, the authority has been implementing a program to monitor and control the state of coral reefs, by conducting a seasonal survey that includes collecting data from 10 stations spread in different locations in Abu Dhabi.”
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