Palau Aquarium presents 3-month preliminary results on reef restoration pilot project to Ngaraard State Office
On May 29th, 2023, the Palau Aquarium presented at Ngaraard State Office to Governor Sharp Sakuma and the Ngaraard State PAN rangers on their reef restoration pilot project, which is taking place at a patch reef to the west of the state. The patch reef was heavily damaged during Typhoon Mike in 1990.
Ngaraard State first reached out to the Palau International Coral Reef Center in 2022 to see if it was possible to restore the reef. Following site assessments, the Aquarium team began the pilot project using coral spiders in February this year when, alongside the Ngaraard state rangers, they installed 10 coral spiders with branching coral fragments. They’ve carried out monthly monitoring since. Overall, a 5% increase in coral cover has been observed. Additionally, the aquarium team planted fifty (50) duadeb (Hippopus hippopus) at the site, all of which are alive and thriving.
After presenting these preliminary results, Governor Sakuma expressed great interest and support to continue the reef restoration project. “One of our goals is to restore this reef,” stated Governor Sakuma. “I cannot say enough for the work that’s been done. It’s been very positive.”
The Palau Aquarium team will continue monthly monitoring at the site until October 2023, when experts from Mars assisted reef restoration system (MARRS) come to Palau to conduct training and standardize the process of coral spider construction.
Interim CEO Caryn Koshiba states, “We are very happy that Governor Sakuma is eager to continue the reef restoration project with our Aquarists. These types of projects align with our 5-year strategic plan and goals for the aquarium on reef restoration and clam research. We also look forward to having the experts from MARRS in October, to conduct the training and help build our capacity development in reef restoration.”
The long-term plan is to outplant over 1000 coral reef spiders in the area, with the aim to restore the patch reef within three years.