Coral Nurture Program
Established in 2018, the Coral Nurture Program is a new approach for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) that is initiated by a partnership between tourism and science.
The Coral Nurture Program does not claim to “Save the Reef”. The sheer size and complexity of the reef, as well as the cost of interventions, means that saving the reef is only possible with effective global action on climate change, in addition to continuing the existing management of fishing, runoff and Crown of Thorns starfish. However, continued increases in surface seawater temperatures that drive marine heat waves which cause coral bleaching events are likely to keep occurring, even if climate policy is improved quickly (though much less so than if global climate policy is ineffective). In the meantime, we are trying to develop the know-how to buy time at a scale that helps coral at the most valuable (ecological and economic) locations. Other people are investigating the feasibility of attempting reef-scale intervention and we anticipate that knowledge from this project can contribute to future decisions. Indeed, a focus on site specific management, as demonstrated in this program, is key to success at any scale.
As of February 2021 over 20,000 corals have been out-planted, with targets of 100,000 over the next four years.