The “Coralizar” project on Brazil’s northeast coast is dedicated to saving coral reefs – an ecosystem that is particularly sensitive to global warming.
The small start-up company Biofábricas is the pillar of the “Coralizar” project, which is supported by WWF Brasil. “We collect fragments of coral that have fallen to the seabed, breed them and then return the coral to nature,” the online site of the Spanish newspaper “El País” quoted company boss Rudã Fernandes as saying. It is not only the warming of the water that is damaging the corals, which form from tiny sea creatures. Snorkeling tourists and rowing boats also pose a threat to the fragile corals, which are often mistaken for plants.
The coral restoration uses 3D printers to create a bespoke base for each coral fragment, to which the coral is attached with non-harmful glue. An intricate work aimed at preventing the extinction of rare species, such as the Mussimila harttii coral species, which is only found on the Brazilian coast and grows by just one centimeter each year.
The phenomenon of coral bleaching, which occurs more intensively and more frequently than before with climate change, is becoming more and more common. The corals lose their distinctive colors and die. At the beginning of the corona pandemic, there was the worst coral bleaching in 35 years on Brazil’s coast, which was not tackled consistently because of the epidemic. Some coral species off the coast of Pernambuco state have lost more than 70 percent of their populations to dieback or disease. In 2019 and 2020, oil spills also massively polluted the Brazilian coast.
Coral reefs as an economic factor
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a 1.5 degree rise in sea temperature before 2050 would result in up to 90 percent of the world’s coral dying. However, this would not only mean that another natural beauty would be lost, but also the natural protective walls of the coasts. In addition, 27 percent of the world’s marine biodiversity can be found in coral reefs – even though the reefs themselves cover only one percent of the sea surface. However, coral reefs are also of economic importance. According to one estimate, 30 million fishing jobs worldwide depend on them. Almost half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost in the last few decades.