Coral relocation involves taking corals that will be impacted by a project and moving them from the impacted area to continue their survival. For marine excavation projects, this is a proven technique with a high survivability rate for relocating coral colonies impacted by a project.
Many projects throughout the world have seen successful transplantation of corals. The success of relocation is largely dependent on site selection, with an emphasis for success on areas selected with high water quality, low nutrient input, and low sedimentation and wave energy and this will be the primary focus of the Verdant Isle project team.
In 2018 a team of scientists led by Lisa Bostrom-Einarsson, as a part of the National Environmental Science Programme in Australia, reviewed 329 case studies regarding coral restoration, including 94 cases of direct coral relocation projects. She found that overall, coral relocation via direct transport reported on average a survival of 64%, with 20% of cases reporting over 90% survival of corals.
To ensure relocation success, Verdant Isle will utilise the expertise of Polaris Applied Sciences, Inc, for the relocation and monitoring of impacted corals. Polaris has overseen over 70 ship grounding/dredging/ anchoring assessment and restoration jobs with a dozen involving reef building, coral reattachment and relocation. These include two projects successfully performed on the west side of Grand Cayman.
Polaris monitored its coral relocation projects in Grand Cayman and found that 89% of tagged corals survived after two years following restoration, while surrounding unaffected corals (those not affected by ship grounding or relocated) showed 93% survivability. The Polaris project’s survival of corals within 4% of natural circumstances after two years shows that relocating corals can be performed successfully in Grand Cayman.