Underwater tourism company Passions of Paradise in Cairns, Australia is using the downtime during the COVID-19 pandemic—which has forced the company to temporarily cancel tours—to repair the Great Barrier Reef. Four divers and one scientist are using the company’s catamaran at the Hastings Reef to plant a coral nursery and have thus far planted more than 1,000 pieces of coral as part of the Coral Nurture Program—which includes participation from four other tourism companies. The team is using a technique called “coral clipping” where they find naturally broken off pieces of coral and attach them back to the reef with a clip to facilitate growth and has created six underwater frames on which to grow new coral.
“There are two new things about this program,” Passions of Paradise CEO Scott Garden told travel outlet Karryon. “It is the first time on the Great Barrier Reef that tourism operators have worked alongside researchers and the first time that a coral clip has been used to attach corals to the reef.”
The Great Barrier Reef—which is home to 10 percent of the world’s coral and is composed of 2,900 individual reefs—has been hard hit by climate change and 50 percent of it has already been lost with scientists predicting that the entire ecosystem will be gone by 2050 if action is not taken.
Photo Credit: Passions of Paradise