Rock barriers sunk off UAE coast to promote coral growth

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is leading efforts to safeguard the country's marine life

A major eco campaign has been launched to protect the UAE's corals.   
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Environment chiefs have launched a major project to boost the country's corals by sinking rock barriers along the coast.

It is envisaged they will provide breeding grounds for coral, boost the marine environment and help protect the coast against storm damage and erosion.

The pilot phase started off the coast of Umm Al Quwain and was launched by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment on Saturday.

The rocks were installed at depths ranging from between five and 10 metres and three species of coral were cultivated on the rocks before they were sunk.

“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," said Salah Al Rayssi, an acting assistant undersecretary at the ministry.

"[The ministry] has put in place an integrated rehabilitation programme 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."

Development, dredging and climate change have led to a decease in the marine health of the seas but the rock barrier project is the latest in the ministry's fightback.

Just this April, the ministry started work on a massive coral reef off the coast of Dibba. Fujairah Cultured Coral Reef Gardens is set to include the cultivation of more than a million coral reef colonies over the next five years, it said at the time. Abu Dhabi also banned gargoors - a tradition metal fishing trap - in May and the emirate is to introduce strict new rules governing the recreational spear fishing community soon.