The Coral Gardeners of Fiji (Video)
A new model of employment is emerging in the world, and one of the most extraordinary of all: coral gardening in the ocean.
The great explorer Jacques Cousteau used to say that once the sea “casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” No aquarium, no tank, as spacious as they may be, could begin to duplicate the network of wonders weaved by the ocean, which is why this new initiative is so extraordinary––The coral gardeners of Fiji are “reforesting” the ocean floor in situ with tiny buds of coral.
These gardeners are fishers trained by biologists to collect small corals that fight for their survival because they have little space, and then “plant them” on suspended platforms that obtain an abundance of sunlight, nutrients and a good temperature… as if they were greenhouses in the sea itself.
When reefs are damaged (often times because humans take coral souvenirs, or by boats that break them, or due to ocean pollution), it is hard for them to grow back because there aren’t enough sprouts around, and the existing ones grow in crowded conditions, competing for food and light. After two years, the coral greenhouses of Fiji have grown brilliantly. Some corals are replanted on the reefs; others are left in the greenhouse so they grow even more.
In the video above we see how in six months, corals begin to branch out, grow and feed small fish. In the video below we meet coral gardener Dr. Austin Bowden-Kerby, whose coral gardens have supplied the ocean with life that was wasting away with time. He was the one who coined the term “coral gardener” as a new job in the world.
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