Van Oord has delivered the first coral engine in the Bahamas.
A coral engine is an underwater coral nursery that contains both locally sourced coral fragments and sexually produced coral juveniles of varying ages. As the corals grow, the coral engine provides a continuous source of outplaceable corals with which local stakeholders can create and, if necessary, rehabilitate their coral reefs.
On 28 August, in the presence of 150 invitees including Bannister, Minister of Works, the maintenance of the coral engine was handed over to local partners Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation and Royal Bahamas Defence Force. They will maintain the nursery and encourage conservation groups, schools, members of the public and tourists to visit the site and become actively involved with its continued development and the subsequent outplacement activities.
Over the past few years, Van Oord has been involved in several dredging and marine works around New Providence, Bahamas. Various measures to protect the vulnerable surrounding corals were taken. Corals that were located in the footprint of the access channel were relocated to a recipient site nearby to ensure their preservation. In addition to the relocation, Van Oord was actively involved in the breeding of coral. ‘We shipped our mobile coral breeding facility ReefGuard to the Bahamas and produced thousands of sexual recruits obtained from local spawning events on our preconditioned settlement substrates with the help of local volunteers. The sexually produced coral recruits of various ages have been combined with a number of coral fragments to form a coral engine,” explains Mark van Koningsveld, Van Oord’s Manager Research & Development Engineering.