Kenya’s coral reefs have suffered major declines over the last three decades as a result of bleaching and overexploitation. Today, hard corals cover an average of just 18% of Kenyan reefs. The Oceans Alive Coral Restoration Initiative aims to halt coral loss and restore the degraded reefs of Kenya through the active approach of coral gardening.
The R.A.R.E. Coral Initiative is a drive to enhance and safeguard Kenya’s fringing reefs through restoration, awareness, research, and education. Coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine life and provide income from tourism as well as food for around 1 billion people. Coral reefs also act as natural barriers against the sea and extreme weather events, protecting coastal communities and beaches. Coral reefs are a huge necessity for Kenya as a country given the range of ecosystem services they provide, for both coast-dwelling communities and 100's of millions of other people.
However, Kenya’s coral reefs have suffered devastating losses over the last three decades as a result of bleaching and overexploitation. During the 1998 global bleaching event, there was an estimated 50-90% loss of coral cover along with most parts of the Kenyan coast. Since then, the recovery of Kenyan reefs has been minimal and slow, with today’s reefs containing an average hard coral cover of just 18%. The R.A.R.E Coral Initiative actively addresses the issues of coral reef loss while emphasizing a multi-input approach and community-centred action that hinges on self-reliance and dignity. This approach merits a more sustainable and long-term impact.
This initiative takes an active approach towards addressing the issues of coral reef loss while emphasizing a multi-input approach and community-centred action that relies on self-reliance and dignity.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
2,800 CORAL COLONIES PLANTED.
Since 2019 Oceans Alive has run a coral gardening program in the Kuruwitu Locally Managed Marine Area (L.M.M.A.). Working closely together with members of the community and our project partner Coral Reef Care, we have progressed the program. Our coral nursery contains 20 tables in which a total of 5,280 juvenile corals from numerous species are grown. Coral gardening allows for the active regeneration of degraded ecosystems, jumpstarting the much-needed processes of coral recovery in Kenya. Oceans Alive uses a simple method for coral gardening that can be shared from peer-to-peer, with the hope that our project can serve as a standard for other regions and other co-management areas. Involving fishers from the community is a high priority. As part of our program to involve the local fishers more and more in coral restoration, we have conducted lessons with the Kuruwitu B.M.U. on coral gardening and conducted peer-to-peer visits to the gardens area to show first-hand the benefit and beauty of conservation.
Our coral gardens have created a living classroom in the ocean for impactful learning experiences. This living classroom paired with our coral gardening approach enables us to carry out education projects with youth and surrounding communities. Together with Ocean Eyes, a group of young passionate marine conservationists, Oceans Alive run a project where we educate local school children on coral reefs, the coral gardening process and how to do it with the students being able to work on their own coral tables, see the growth and plant their corals in the reef.
Each table in our nursery contains 240 corals from numerous species. We aim to collect multiple coral species and growth forms, from various environmental conditions to stock out nurseries. This approach captures a wide range of adaptive genetic diversity in corals, helping to bolster the resilience of reefs that we restore. Once ready, we out-plant corals from the nursery at degraded reef sites using two different approaches; 1) Out-planting onto artificial reef structures that we have built. 2) Out-planting directly into natural reef substrate.
The current coral species in our nurseries are:
ADOPT A CORAL.
Half a billion people benefit from coral reefs which form part of the coastlines of 100 countries - primarily low-income countries. With the current trend of degradation of essential coral reefs, we need to take action now to build back our reefs and prevent any further damage.
We aim to restore 1-km of the Kenyan coral reef for a better ecosystem, environmental conservation, betterment of livelihoods and make our country more aware of the importance of our beautiful coral reef.
Seeing how quickly coral can grow if nurtured and protected and how soon fish appear to live among the new corals shows that positive change is possible.
Join this coral-restoration project through adopting a coral table, coral structure, or a colony of coral and actively contribute to the restoration of our coral reef and support coral awareness, research, and education.
WHY ADOPT A CORAL?
By adopting your own coral, you can contribute to restoresting (Coral Table ~10 m, Coral Structure ~ 1.8 m and Coral ~ 10 cm) of a coral fringe. Following this, you are welcome to reach out to our team and arrange a visit to see your coral. A visit would entail seeing how the coral gardening process is carried out on sight and all the stages and work that goes into it from start to finish and becoming familiar with coral and its beauty in all forms. It will be a positive, interactive, and educational day for the team, organization, or group you are with. It will also offer an excellent opportunity for team building.
Once a single coral, coral structure, or coral table of coral is adopted at a monthly fee or one-off fee, a certificate will be given to show participation in the initiative. Our team on the ground will continue to carry out the maintenance process and go through the stages of gardening, which you will be shown on the day. At quarterly intervals, those who have purchased coral tables will receive pictures of the progress of your coral tables and coral will be taken and sent to you along with how much of the reef you are contributing to restoring. Those who have purchased structures and colonies will receive annual photos. All who have adopted any coral will be free to come, take part in the maintenance, visit, and see your adopted corals and coral table at any stage of the process when planned. This also includes an invite to Oceans Alives – Ocean Events.