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Large-scale transplant of coral

In Jamaica, between August 2009 and April 2010, coral was transplanted as part of the development of the Falmouth Cruise Ship Terminal.

The ecological challenge

One of the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Agency was the movement of the coral threatened by the work. Before the entrance channel to the port could be deepened, 24 different types of hard coral had to be transplanted: 150,000 individual pieces in total. The conditions in terms of light intensity, the speed of water currents and temperature at the new location had to be as close as possible to the conditions in the original location. The corals were moved to suitable locations between 500 and 1500 meters away.

The ecological solution

The coral was removed, together with some of the substrate, using hammers, chisels and underwater saws. Then it was 'glued' in the new locations using a special epoxy material that can cope with severe hurricanes. Cement was also used and the substrate was fixed into position in the new locations using steel pins. Boskalis worked with specialist teams. Some teams were specialized in removing the coral, while others were responsible for transportation, and others were involved in taking the coral to its new home. And there were special surveillance teams, who were responsible for things like monitoring the health of the coral. Not only during the transplantation, but also a number of months after completion and once again in 2011, the new colonies were inspected to see how healthy they were. 96% had survived the 'move'. That is a major success for the Jamaica coral transplant. The results were presented at an international coral research conference in Australia in 2012.

More about this case

Port Technology International

Article on the creation of the Falmouth cruise terminal with respect for the environment.