Dubai reef opens to dive groups

A spectacular coral reef, thought to be the largest in Dubai, has been opened to the public, five years after it was relocated to The World islands.

The exercise involved moving more than 1,100 coral-encrusted rocks, each weighing about 5 tonnes without them ever actually leaving the water.

The National reports that diving groups are now free to explore the reef, which was moved from the Dubai Drydocks breakwater.

It has been virtually untouched since the move to ensure that the coral had time to stabilise and thrive in its new location.

John Burt, an assistant professor and head of the Marine Biology Laboratory at New York University Abu Dhabi, was tasked with monitoring the state of the coral for 18 months after the move.

“This was one of the largest coral-relocation projects ever conducted globally, with more than 20,000 coral colonies spared from the effects of infrastructure development,” he said. “The techniques used to transport the
corals underwater with minimal handling were a world first and showed the creativity and ingenuity that can arise when engineers and ecologists work together for conservation purposes.

“The move also brought additional, originally unintended benefits for other fauna. The area to which the corals were relocated now has a diverse community of reef fish, including rare species not seen in the area before.”


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