Fisheries & Aquaculture News

Africa's First Regenerative Coral Aquaculture Facility is Being Built on Praslin Island

Construction of Africa's first on-land regenerative coral aquaculture facility designed to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on coral reefs has begun on Praslin Island, Seychelles’ second largest island.

The ambitious project, spearheaded by the environmental non-profit Nature Seychelles, is set to revolutionize coral reef conservation and restoration.

The building of the facility, known as the Assisted Recovery of Corals (ARC), commenced in November 2023 after all necessary permits and rigorous requirements, including community engagement, environmental impact assessment (EIA), planning approval, road cutting for pipes, aquaculture license, and donors' social and environmental screening, were secured.

The facility is financially supported by the Adaptation Fund through UNDP and the Government of Seychelles, the global shipping and logistics company CMA CGM, and the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).

Situated at the Nature Seychelles’ CORAL complex at Amitie, Praslin, ARC will act as a coral bank to preserve the genetic diversity of corals in Seychelles.

Importantly, it will turbo-boost the restoration process by producing thousands of corals through a revolutionary technique known as micro-fragmentation to supplement the ocean-based nurseries already in use. Micro-fragmentation breaks corals into tiny pieces, which are cultivated under optimal conditions that help them grow faster than the normal rate and exponentially increase the numbers produced. This is especially significant for slow-growing corals that are often not used in reef restoration activities. It also reduces coral collection in the wild.

Nature Seychelles hired renowned coral restoration expert Dr. David Vaughan, who discovered micro-fragmentation, to produce the facility's technical design. The facility includes coral micro-fragmentation and public education areas. Specialist equipment has been procured and delivered to the site for this purpose.

The facility will be powered by renewable energy, with solar panels mounted on the roof. The project team is actively working with the Public Utilities Company to determine the size of the rooftop photovoltaic (PV) array that can be installed.

As construction progresses, anticipation is building with Praslinois curious to see the result of the building that is taking shape before their eyes.

The construction of this facility is momentous for Seychelles and Africa as a whole. It will not only serve as a model for coral aquaculture but will also provide valuable insights into innovative approaches to combating climate change impacts for the region. We have a sustainability plan in place to produce at a large scale to supply corals to other coral reef restoration projects,” says Dr. Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles Chief Executive.


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