If the world’s remaining reefs continue to die, a major financial impact on fishing and tourism was predicted. Coral reefs support more than 25% of marine biodiversity, including turtles, fish and lobsters, which fuel global fishing industries. From the Caribbean to the western Pacific, the effects of climate change have led to coral bleaching, a worrying uptick in ocean acidification and relentless hurricanes that have wreaked havoc on the world’s reefs. Up to half the world’s coral reefs have already been lost and the rest are at risk. A project, known as Ocean-Shot, was announced Thursday at the Global Citizen’s Forum, intended to create reef restoration technology. It will be applied first on 1 hectare (2.6 acres) of dead reef off the coast of the Caribbean nation Antigua and Barbuda.
The technology, funded by U.S. entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, mimics the design and shape of natural reefs to provide opportunities for colonization by corals and other marine life. Scientists will also test new technologies aimed at speeding up coral growth, which naturally takes up to a decade to restore 1 hectare. Officials hope to replicate Ocean-Shot in other locations in the Caribbean and Latin America. The goal is to spark transformative research for potentially “disruptive” advances that will open avenues for progress.