MCI launches Coral Custodians program and #FarakeeZinmaa initiative

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MCI’s co-founder Aya Naseem with Coral Custodians | Photos by Maldives Coral Institute and Akhthar Naseem

Maldives Coral Institute (MCI) launched ‘Coral Custodians’ program for students of Nooranee School, S. Hithadhoo on Thursday, September 15th.

The program was inaugurated by MCI’s Chairperson, President Mohamed Nasheed, and by Nooraanee School’s Principal Ibrahim Nadeem. The event was attended by Addu City’s Mayors, Council, Parliamentarians, teachers and students.

President Mohamed Nasheed, MCI’s Chairperson, inaugurated the Coral Custodians project

The program, aimed at grade 8-10 students, gave the students the chance to get hands-on with coral restoration.

Coral Workshop: learning to monitor and look after corals

30 students from Nooranee school participated in the Coral Workshop.

The first session began with MCI’s co-founder Aya Naseem giving a presentation on coral ecology and biology. Aya also covered local and global threats to coral reef ecosystems, and an overview of coral restoration. Aya also showed the students how to collect data from their corals. Following Aya, aquarium specialist Ahmed Shaheer gave an introduction into looking after coral aquariums.

Students measuring coral fragments during Coral Workshop

As part of the project, students learned to measure coral skeleton (akiri) pieces with callipers.

Students will also be nurturing coral fragments in a tank environment, where they will be learning how to monitor the corals and the water quality while maintaining records. Once the corals have grown to a suitable size, they can be replanted in colonies on the on a suitable reef. The location for the coral restoration will be identified by the MCI, and the students will be transplanting the corals under their guidance.

“It was delightful to work with such engaged and curious students and we are looking forward to the next workshop and doing science and growing corals with them” Maldives Coral Institute said in a post.

Nooranee School students participate in Coral Workshop

Aquarium specialist Ahmed Shaheer presents at Coral Workshop

#FarakeeZinmaa: our corals, our responsibility

MCI also launched a new hashtag, #FarakeeZinmaa, (Reef’s are responsibility), to encourage more people to take care of their islands reefs.

“As it is our responsibility to look after our island’s reefs, MCI launched our new hashtag #FarakeeZinmaa. We are hopeful that we are seeing more islands step up to the challenge of looking after their reef.” MCI told MBR.

MCI also has a coral restoration project ongoing in B. Fulhadhoo. It is the largest coral restoration project based in a local island, and is supported by Mars Incorporated. MCI also collaborates with Save the Beach, that has a coral restoration project ongoing in Greater Male’ in Villimale’ house reef.

The Coral Custodians program is the first of it’s kind in southern Maldives.

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