2020 Nov 18
Coral reefs are home to a staggering 25% of all marine species and attract diverse forms of marine habitats. Due to unethical human activity, preserving natural coral reefs is a challenge faced by many nations. The Sri Lankan coastal waters are no exception to this challenge, and we are home to an extensive number of fish and coral species. Fisheries and coral reef conservation, therefore, is an invaluable aspect of the national economy, as well as a flourishing eco-system. Conserving and managing natural resources has now become a national priority objective world-wide.
While submerging metal into the deep sea sounds like a bad idea, the Deep Sea Fish Development Project recently improvised on how decaying metal can be used for the good of marine life!
Seven coral reefs have been created by using old Sri Lanka Transport Board buses, to set up a miniature fish and coral habitat in the Trincomalee sea. The submerging of the decaying buses in the SLTB depots is expected to boost the current fisheries infrastructure.
This innovative and ambitious project was envisioned by the Ceylon Fishery Harbours Corporation (CFHC). The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Director General Susantha Kahawatte stated that the project was initiated under the gazette issued for the guidance of new ministries. In order to promote the breeding of fish habitats in coastal areas, novel and scientific methodologies are in need of being implemented by the authorities.
In weighing the pros and cons of artificial reefs, experts have pointed out that they cannot be a substitute for natural coral reefs. They have proposed at least a 2-year follow-up of the project’s success, with continuous assessments on its ecological aspects including corrosion. While creating these man-made reefs may have its own benefits in protecting marine life, this could also promote tourist attraction. However, as a nation with rich biodiversity, we are expected to thrive towards preserving the naturally occurring resources of nature. While unethical exploitation of marine life may further endanger our ecosystem, this stands out as a commendable effort towards reef restoration.
Images from Ceylon Fishery Harbours Corporation (CFHC)