Fighting the coral fight

Every year, the use of anchors for mooring commercial and recreational boats causes millions of dollars worth of damage to coral reefs around the world.

Anchoring on or even near a coral reef can cause immediate, visible damage which impacts the health of the reef and the important fisheries that coral reefs support and also its appeal to tourists.

Using mooring buoys instead of anchors is a simple solution which protects coral reefs and the businesses that depend on them.

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) non-governmental organisation is working towards effective marine conservation in Fiji by installing a series of permanent moorings within and around the Namena Marine Reserve in Kubulau in Bua together with assistance from the community.

Funds raised through the Moore & Packard Foundation, Mar Viva Foundation and the sales of entrance fees to the Reserve are supporting this initiative.

“There is a two-pronged approach to this mooring buoy project. One is to ensure the Namena Marine Reserve is recognized as an anchor free zone, helping to secure the health and appeal of the reef for years to come. The other is to build direct relationships between the Kubulau community and the dive operators to encourage small scale tourism initiatives,” volunteer field representative for CORAL, Heidi Williams said.

“The Kubulau community has a long established qoliqoli management committee, and we are working closely with them to develop a sustainable business plan for the Namena Marine Reserve, including the deployment of permanent moorings; an essential part of any marine park management plan.

“Currently anyone wishing to dive within the reserve must pre-purchase a special