Coral reefs are amongst the most important underwater ecosystems, vital for the preservation of the marine fauna and flora of a region. At the same time coral reefs are amongst the most vulnerable ecosystems and are threatened by climate changes, water pollution, harmful fishing activities and unregulated urban development. Coral reefs provide valuable income to tourist and fishery industries and prevent coastal erosion.
In 2007, while conducting a study to determine the impact that a new causeway would have on the Drydocks embankment, Nakheel discovered a coral reef that would be destroyed by the construction of the causeway, if it wasn’t moved to a different location. The herculean task was successfully carried out by Nakheel Marine Group. More than one thousand coral-covered boulders, weighing several tonnes each, were moved and deposited at the water close to The World development, forming a kind of breakwater barrier for the archipelago. Today, the coral reef at The World is thriving and attracts many divers, contributing thus to Dubai’s tourism industry. The reef was also included in a recent Discovery Channel documentary.
A few years ago, Dubai Police embarked in an ambitious project to create an artificial fish reef. The project is also located close to The World islands, off Jumeirah coast. 15 old useless armoured police vehicles were stripped of all harmful components and submerged in a location approved by the Dubai Police Health and Safety Department and Dubai Municipality. Today the fish reef has become home to more than 17 kinds of fish new to the area. Inspired by the success of their fish reef project, Dubai Police has now created a coral nursery in the waters close to Palm Deira. The new project is equally successful with the fish reef one and many marine life species have returned back to the area and inhabit the coral reef.
Finally, there is another project involving corals in Dubai. It is called Al Murjan (coral in Arabic) and was created by the Dubai Ladies Club in coordination with the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG). Al Murjan is also sponsored by Shangri-La and Traders hotels.