BRANCH coral restoration project on Porto Mari
Since June 2023, Porto Mari Sports collaborates with BRANCH Coral Restoration Foundation, because we care for the ocean and our coral reefs.
What do we do?
A team of marine biologists under the guidance of Max van Aalst and assisted by Porto Mari’s divemasters and instructors is setting up and maintaining five nursery trees with 300 staghorn corals in order to outplant them back on the reef when they are big enough to sustainably grow on their own in the wild. By doing so we stimulate the renewal of the coral reef at Porto Mari.
How to get involved?
There are several ways you can contribute to this and get involved:
- Adopt one of our baby staghorn corals
- Take the BRANCH Coral Restoration Diver specialty course
- Take a special coral nursery snorkel tour
- Take a special coral nursery guided dive
- Donate directly to the BRANCH Coral Restoration Foundation (can also be done via Porto Mari Sports)
- to be continued and expanded…
A little bit of history
Porto Mari Beach and Porto Mari Sports have a history when it comes to coral reef conservation efforts. In the early 2000s, after a tropical storm had damaged much of the shallower reef at Porto Mari, dozens of reef balls made out of specially designed acid-free cement, were constructed and placed in the bay by our predecessors with the goal to stimulate coral growth in shallow water. You probably know these reef balls as the place where you make your safety stop at the end of your dive at Porto Mari.
Originally, staghorn corals were planted on the reef balls, but these were all blown away by subsequent storms and now form two naturally growing fields in the shallow water halfway between Porto Mari beach and Playa Hunku. The corals and sponges that currently grow on the reef balls – mainly brain corals, fire coral and various types of sponge – have spontaneously arrived. Twenty years old, the reef balls are home to countless fish.
A two-year contract between BRANCH and Porto Mari Sports begun in June 2023 breathes new life into these coral restoration efforts by growing and outplanting staghorn coral. We are proud to become part of this history.