Scaling up coral restoration around Fregate Island

Fregate IslandBlancpain and Coralive.org are pleased to announce the release of the latest short film on their experimental coral restoration initiative, a project that is part of their long-standing Ocean Commitment program to restore and preserve the marine environment in the Seychelles.

As the situation of corals continues to be challenging, the teams have found a way to take coral restoration to the next level. The key factors in doing so are scalability, efficient logistics, sustainable energy production and usage. They decided to launch a research project (first of its kind) to study the positive effects of Mineral Accretion Technology (MAT) – a trailblazing method that results in higher survival rates of coral fragments compared to classic rehabilitation. The film showcases the team’s mission in supporting the regrowth of corals and resilience using MAT elaborated in phase 1 to understand electrical stimulation of corals during 12hrs (day) vs. 12hrs (night) vs. 24hrs vs. a control setup.

After the first stage of the project being very successful, the project is now in phase two. The motivation behind the study is understand scalability, which will be the key factor in future coral restoration efforts, making the firsthand results in this research and experience of the utmost importance. Whether it’s placing different structures easily and fast or keeping the costs as low as possible through exact planning and calculations, producing the electricity on land or through floating solar panels, the team will be able to observe the differences in growth speed and survival rates of corals when they are stimulated under different scenarios.

Since 2018, Fregate Island, Blancpain and Coralive.org have joined forces to study, restore and preserve the marine environment around the island. Coralive.org and BlueNomads.org led the field projects with additional support from the Green Islands Foundation, and the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust.

Fregate Island

Fregate Island is the easternmost of the granitic Inner Islands of the Seychelles. It is home to the exclusive Fregate Island luxury resort with secluded villas amidst just over one square mile of pristine nature. Known as a mini-Galapagos in the Seychelles, the island has a long conservation history for its terrestrial environment with notable achievements such as saving the Magpie Robin from extinction, and contributing to the development of the Aldabra tortoise colony, which has increased in size from a few dozen to nearly 3,500 today. With great success on land, the conservation team on Fregate Island began their focus on the surrounding marine environment, especially in terms of the distribution of organisms within the fringe coral reef.

Blancpain Ocean Commitment in the Seychelles

Driven by a resolutely pioneering spirit since its founding in 1735, Blancpain’s historical connection with the ocean reaches back to 1953, with the launch of the world’s first modern diving watch: the Fifty Fathoms. The brand’s relation to the Seychelles debuted in 2015 when Blancpain, as founding partner of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, supported a scientific expedition to the Seychelles Outer Islands. Results included a detailed science report for the Seychelles Government, which contributed to the recent increase of its marine protection to 410’000 square kilometers, a full 30% of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Moreover, in 2017, The Economist and Blancpain, as founding partner of the World Ocean Summit, have awarded the Ocean Innovation Challenge to the Seychelles Blue Bonds project, the world’s first debt refinancing for ocean conservation. The project resulted in a $21.6 M payment of foreign debt in exchange for in-country financing for long-term conservation and commitment to develop a marine spatial plan that included the 30% goal.

Partners

BlueNomads.org Survey Philippines is a social enterprise founded in 2016 to apply commercial strategies to support marine conservation and blue economy initiatives.

The Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) is the independent private trust that disburses blue grants funded by the Seychelles debt conversion to support ocean conservation.

The Green Islands Foundation (GIF) is a Seychelles registered NGO dedicated to the mainstreaming of sustainable development. Established in 2006, GIF aims to establish equilibrium and potential synergies of development and environment at the core of its operations and seeks, as its main activity, to bridge the gap between the private sector and national environmental programs.

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