Workers from one Australian dive tour operator are planting coral on the Great Barrier Reef after their business was closed due to the pandemic with the coronavirus and they have more free time on their hands.
The Passions of Paradise is a family-owned, eco-tourism company located in Cairns, Australia and they normally take tourists out on the Pacific to scuba dive, snorkel, and enjoy the beauty of the biggest coral reef system.
But, since the government ordered shutdowns and social distancing, the company had no work so they had more time to focus on sustainability.
They used this time to continue with their effort to plant as much coral as possible.
Regeneration of the Natural Oceanic World
According to the environmental sustainability manager, Russell Hosp, they’re a commercial tourism business so their activities are mostly focused on showing people the stunning ecosystem.
So, it’s good they can now focus on the scientific arm of their operation while the shutdown is on.
They’ve started with the coral planting much earlier, since of September 2019 as part of a private-public partnership that’s aimed towards improving the reef.
Normally, Hosp explains that their team is busy with customers on the expenditions and rarely has the needed time to spare for the planting of corals. But, lately, things have been on nature’s side.
They focused only on the planting of corals and are finding the best ways to get the most work done and they’re pleased with the results they achieved until now.
The Planting Efforts Focused on Hastings Reef
The company has been planting coral on Hastings Reef, one of the popular diving spots in the larger Great Barrier Reef System.
They’ve seeded one thousand pieces as of March. Since the shutdown, they’ve doubled this number and planted more than 1200 pieces over a period of three days.
To ensure they keep up with the social distancing guidelines, only 4 divers and 1 marine biologist are allowed on the boat.
Hosp explains that it’s a beautiful and rewarding feeling knowing you’re able to make a difference.
This massive effort to plant corals comes after one of the biggest coral bleaching ever recorded and third mass bleaching in the 5 years.
Even though bleaching doesn’t immediately kill coral, if the temperatures stay high, the plants will eventually die.