Frequently Asked Questions
No, this was received by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a different organisation, who are currently designing a strategy to support the delivery of key actions under the Reef 2050 Plan.
For the first 18 months of our development, we were entirely self-funded and worked pro-bono on developing the organisation and its restoration program. To establish our pilot project at Fitzroy Island, we received some seed funding from Fitzroy Island Resort, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, Gempearl and the Australian Government’s National Environment Science Program. We have since received a grant from the National Australian Bank Foundation, and donations from companies including JTB, Small World Journeys, Amway and Oris, which has enabled us to expand the nursery. In-kind support has been provided by the Cairns Dive Centre, Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, Possible People, Reef Ecologic, Fortis One, RGG Insights, Holding Redlich, BMT and Ports North, who provided data to enable us to do some modelling to identify the location of our first site.
When we began, we needed to focus on solving a problem relevant to a defined stakeholder and the tourism industry fulfilled that requirement. The Great Barrier Reef supports a $6 billion a year tourism industry and more than 64,000 jobs. While the reef is vast, there are a limited number of locations used by the tourism industry. After the 2016 and 2017 coral bleaching events, the tourism industry sought to be more proactive stewards of the Great Barrier Reef. By establishing partnerships with the tourism industry, we can address a key problem they face while reducing our operational costs. As we grow, we wish to expand into other high value locations on the Great Barrier Reef.
Until 2017, coral reef restoration techniques were not allowed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Following the second consecutive bleaching event, a summit was convened by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to identify what measures could be undertaken to increase the health and resilience of the reef, and it was agreed that reef restoration techniques should be allowed. We then applied for a research permit to pilot the first ocean-based coral nursery in the Great Barrier Reef, as there is no appropriate permit currently available to establish coral nurseries for restoration purposes. We anticipate that a coral restoration permit will be available in the future.
After evaluating different methods for establishing ocean-based coral nurseries, we adopted coral tree frames because they:
• are proven, durable, lightweight, easy to install and cost effective
• have low environmental impact and are easily removed
• are more durable to cyclones
• prevent pests such as crown-of-thorns starfish eating the growing coral
• are able to be lowered into deeper and cooler water during bleaching events to protect the corals.
We have established a pilot ocean-based coral nursery at Fitzroy Island, near Cairns. Cuttings of corals that survived two years’ of warm water temperatures were harvested from a nearby reef and attached to 10 coral tree frames in the nursery, where they are growing into coral colonies. The first generation of corals has been transplanted onto a nearby damaged reef and the second generation of corals is being grown to continue this process. This process of coral regrowth mimics nature and accelerates the process to enable reefs to recover from bleaching and cyclone damage faster. This method has been proven overseas and adapted to the Great Barrier Reef.
We are taking steps to select corals that are naturally more resilient to coral bleaching and to accelerate the growth of these corals so they can be used to regenerate damaged reefs. There are no guarantees that this will restore an individual reef, however, it is clear that we need to undertake some tangible action and calculated risks to give individual reefs on the Great Barrier Reef the best chance of survival.
Help renew the Great Barrier Reef by becoming a Coral Crusader and adopting a coral.
You can donate $50 to Care for a Coral, $500 to Build a Branch, $10,000 to Tend a Tree, while some may consider investing in a new nursery, regenerating a reef or making a smaller donation.
Your investment will combine with those of other Coral Crusaders to create a multiplier effect and allow ocean-based coral nurseries to be established on high-value reefs throughout the Great Barrier Reef.
Volunteers can assist with establishing and maintaining the ocean-based nurseries. To join this group of Coral Crusaders you must have a Rescue Diver certification or greater, logged more than 50 dives and be able to provide your own gear.
Yes, please do. We accept donations via Mastercard, Visa and PayPal.