August 29, 2008

500 Man-Made Reefs Deployed to Protect Pulau Redang Corals

By Sean Augustin

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government `fastened' the first batch of the Reefscape, a beehive-shaped concrete artificial reef, off Redang Island here yesterday.

About 500 reef units were deployed by divers, led by State Industrial, Trade and Environment Committee chairman Toh Chin Yaw, in 10 sites. There are 2,000 units altogether.

The Reefscape, weighing about 60kg each, were placed near existing reefs, some of which were damaged, to help corals grow faster. Corals are said to grow an average of one to 2cm a year.

"Some corals around the island have been damaged due to careless snorkelling and by divers as well as litterbugs and the weather," he said.

"The reef, we hope, can restore the damage and at the same time encourage new growth around the island not only for our tourism industry but also because it is part of our natural heritage.

"It's also a great place for fish to aggregate which would be a plus point for divers," he said, adding that should this pilot project prove to be a success, more such reefs would be deployed in other islands in the state.

Toh was speaking to reporters after launching the project in conjunction with the International Year of Reefs which also saw the launch of the Seabed Cleaning programme 2008.

Also present was Terengganu Riverine and Coastal Authority (Trevicosta) director Datuk Wan Zahari Wan Ngah.

Trevicosta is the department under the state government that carried out the project.

The Reefscape, which has been in development for the past two years, has two models.

The first is designed for corals to grow by themselves, while the other is meant for seeding of corals.

The project was done in collaboration with the Marine Park Department and other related agencies.

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