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Boost for Great Barrier Reef coral nursery

August 3, 2020 Visit STH Pacific & Oceania No Comments Email Email

A mission to become the most sustainable tour operator in Australia has led to Fun Over Fifty assisting the Reef Restoration Foundation’s goal to plant 1 million new corals on the Great Barrier Reef by 2026.

Reef Restoration Foundation Chief Executive Officer Ryan Donnelly welcomed the sponsorship of a coral tree by the Brisbane-based coach touring company.

“The coral trees are used to grow corals to regenerate high-value reef sites at our Great Barrier Reef nurseries,” he said.

“Our permit from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority allows us to trim fragments from a living coral colony on the reef and grow them at a faster rate on the trees before out-planting half the new colonies back on the reef.

“We then trim the remaining new colonies into fragments to be grown on the tree allowing us to produce many more new corals from the original living coral colony.”

Fun Over Fifty Chief Executive Officer Toni Brennan said her company was determined to build a new coral nursery one branch at a time and was looking forward to their first tour north to Cairns in August.

“Having achieved Climate Action Leader status with Eco Tourism Australia, Fun Over Fifty has a passion for giving back to each region that we visit,” she said.

“We work closely with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and are recognised for developing initiatives to get our guests involved with these goals, most recently winning a national Banksia Sustainability Award.

“Fun Over Fifty has started with the donation of one coral tree and with each tour to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region we hope guests will offset their carbon footprint by donating to the Fun Over Fifty Green Bank, taking us closer to our goal of building a new coral nursery.

“Eventually we are interested in including volunteering at the Reef Restoration Foundation nursery as part of our Green Getaways for passionate travellers wanting to be part of our Green and Gold Army helping the environment.”

Mr Donnelly said the Reef Restoration Foundation received no government funding and relied on the corporate sector and individuals to donate funds to progress the science of reef restoration in the Cairns region to regenerate high-value reefs.

“Our not-for-profit social enterprise founded the first offshore coral nursery in Australia when we established a pilot nursery at Fitzroy Island in December 2017,” he said.

“We now have an additional nursery at Hastings Reef and one planned for Moore Reef in September.

“Reef Restoration Foundation has a first-class science program, committed commercial partners and an army of volunteers.

“This strong foundation allows us to branch into the adoption of new techniques currently being trialled, such as larval rearing, that will enable us to produce vast numbers of new corals over the coming years.

“Our work is monitored by scientists from James Cook University’s TropWATER and to date we have demonstrated that coral grown in nurseries develops three to eight times faster allowing us to accelerate the regeneration of high-value Great Barrier Reef sites.”

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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