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Great Barrier Reef coral nursery doubles in size

September 11, 2019 Responsible Tourism No Comments Email Email

The Great Barrier Reef’s first ocean-based coral nursery has doubled in size and moved to a location accessible to snorkellers thanks to a $60,000 grant from Powershop, Australia’s only 100% carbon-neutral energy company.

Reef Restoration Foundation Chief Executive Officer Stewart Christie said Powershop had turned paying power bills into a way for customers to have a positive impact on the environment through its program, Your Community Energy.

“The Powershop Coral Tree Nursery was established in Welcome Bay at Fitzroy Island off Cairns over the past week as part of our not-for-profit social enterprise’s goal of planting 1 million new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2026,” he said.

“The grant from Powershop’s Your Community Energy program has added 10 coral trees to the nursery which will allow the Reef Restoration Foundation to plant thousands more corals a year on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Powershop Acting Chief Executive Officer Catherine Anderson visited the Powershop Coral Tree Nursery during installation to see the impact it would have on the Great Barrier Reef.

“It will be fantastic to show our customers, especially those who have voluntarily opted in to pay a little bit more when purchasing their power via the Your Community Energy program, just where their contributions are going and the positive impact they are having,” she said.

“It’s such a tangible impact, visitors can snorkel out to the Powershop Coral Nursery at Fitzroy Island to see the impact our customers are having during the six to nine month coral growing cycle, which is repeated as soon as the corals are re-planted on the reef.”

The Greenpeace and Total Environment Centre Green Electricity Guide have ranked Powershop as Australia’s Greenest Power company for the past three years. Powershop’s parent company Meridian Energy Australia is a 100% renewable energy generation company.

Mr Christie said working with a forward-thinking energy company that supports a transition to renewable energy, whilst also taking tangible actions to help the reef is an ideal collaboration for the Reef Restoration Foundation.

“Reef Restoration Foundation launched the first ocean-based coral nursery in December 2017 and has since successfully harvested and grown more than 1200 new corals with 300 already planted on a degraded section of the reef at Fitzroy Island,” he said.

“The project is supported by scientists working at successful coral restoration projects overseas and uses volunteers to care for the corals.

“Powershop’s investment in reef restoration is part of the solution to provide this amazing ecosystem with the best chance of survival for the future.”

“The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has granted the Reef Restoration Foundation a research permit to expand our ocean-based nursery program to four other high-value sites on the outer reef.

“Sites have been selected and we are in discussion with the tourism industry about a collaboration to provide guided tours for people wanting a meaningful experience showing the challenges the Great Barrier Reef faces and how they can be part of the solution.

“The Great Barrier Reef supports a $6 billion a year tourism industry and approximately 40,000 tourism jobs, so this project aims to assist tourism operators to care for the health of the section of reef they operate in.”

Become a Coral Crusader at reefrestorationfoundation.org/pages/crusader and follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at www.facebook.com/reefrestorationfoundation/ and www.instagram.com/reef_restoration_foundation.

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