World’s largest coral restoration project unveiled in Saudi

This aims restore reefs worldwide.

Riyadh: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in collaboration with NEOM, have launched the first nursery of the KAUST Coral Restoration Initiative (KCRI).

KCRI is the world’s largest coral restoration project, aiming to restore reefs worldwide.

The primary nursery is already operational, and a second facility is being developed, both located in the Red Sea.

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The nursery, located on NEOM’s northwest coast, aims to revolutionize coral restoration efforts with an annual production capacity of 40,000 corals, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Functioning as a pioneering pilot facility, researchers will leverage the project as the blueprint for large-scale coral restoration initiatives, including the world’s largest and most advanced land-based coral nursery.

Located at the same site, this advanced coral nursery will boast a 10-fold larger capacity to nurture 400,000 corals annually. The project is anticipated to reach completion by December 2025.

Coral reefs, home to 25 percent of marine species, are at risk of severe heat stress, with experts estimating 90 percent of global reefs will experience this annually by 2050.

KAUST President Prof Tony Chan said recent events provide a stark reminder of the global crisis that coral reefs face.

“Our ambition is, therefore, to pioneer a pathway to upscale from the current labour-intensive restoration efforts to industrial-scale processes required to reverse the current rate of coral reef degradation,” he said.
“The university is contributing the world-leading expertise of our faculty, who are working on technologies to bring this vision to fruition.”

NEOM’s CEO, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, expressed that this initiative demonstrates NEOM’s dedication to sustainability and finding innovative solutions for global environmental challenges.

Photo: SPA

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