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Cousin Island Special Reserve, Seychelles

Reef Rescuers

The Reef Rescuers project is the world’s first large-scale coral reef restoration project, located in the marine protected area of Cousin Island Special Reserve.

Launched in 2010, the Reef Rescuers project uses the “coral gardening” technique to carry out restoration of coral reefs affected by bleaching.

  • Coral fragments are collected from healthy donor sites.
  • Corals are raised and cared for in underwater nurseries until they reach a suitable size.
  • Corals are transplanted to a degraded reef. Long-term monitoring of transplantation success.

Since 2010, 40,000 corals have been raised in underwater nurseries, of which over 24,000 were successfully transplanted, covering the area of a football field (5,225 m2). The long-term success of the project is currently being assessed, with initial data demonstrating an increase in both coral recruit and fish densities following intervention, highlighting the benefits of active reef restoration.

The project has already had a very positive knowledge-building impact, with over 40 scientific divers and volunteers trained on reef restoration techniques and two international training programs delivered in 2015 and 2019. To further disseminate knowledge gained from the ongoing Reef Rescuers project, a ‘Reef Restoration Tool Kit’ was published, highlighting lessons learned and restoration best practices.

Learn more on the Nature Seychelles website