In 2011, Green Cross Japan (GCJ), in partnership with Tag Heuer Japan, launched the “Tag Heuer Coral Garden Project”. Started in Okinawa, Japan, this project was created in order to improve marine ecosystems in the region.
The Coral Garden Project is located in the southern part of Japan on two small islands, Aka and Geruma. Part of the Kerma islands, this frequently visited area is known for its beautiful resorts, which attract divers, eager to see the stunning coral reefs.
During the last decade, these coral reefs have decreased in number due to the intrusion of the acanthasters (starfish), and also because of the bleaching of the coral caused by rising water temperatures attributed to global warming.
The Coral Garden Project grows coral saplings with the assistance of local marine science laboratories. These saplings are then planted with the assistance of local divers.
Coral reefs are a vital organ of marine ecosystems. It is expected that as the health of the coral reefs improve, the surrounding marine ecosystems, which nurtures many sea creatures, will also recover.
To protect the coral reefs from the intrusion of acanthasters (starfish), local divers often patrol the sea in order to find and remove them before the coral is permanently harmed.
In addition to growing and planting coral, the Coral Garden Project has other initiatives to protect the coral reefs, such as preventing the dropping of anchors by tour diving ships in order to stop irreparable damage it may cause. The project established diving points where tour diving ships are able to tie ropes to the buoy, instead of tying the rope to the coral reef. GCJ also maintains the anchor ropes and buoys to ensure that the coral reefs are not harmed.
This past January, 100 coral saplings were planted after being nursed in a laboratory for 18 months. They were grown on square ceramic plates and attached to the reefs with glue. A team of local divers took them to the bottom of the sea (3-5 metres deep), and attached the saplings to the coral reef.
This is GCJs first marine-related project. There are high hopes for the continuation of GCJ’s partnership with Tag Heuer for their Coral Garden Project.
For more information, please contact Ryuji Kuwahara (Kuwa), Green Cross Japan: