Coral reefs in the Southern Sea’ have started breathing once again due to a number of restoration projects. Coral reefs are often called “rainforests of the sea”, and large patches of the coral reefs in the Southern seas which withered out are now slowly coming to life thanks to restoration efforts.
Coral reefs could be damaged due to changing water temperatures, ocean acidification, pollution, invasive species, and changing weather patterns.
The reef keeper’s organization claim that over-harvesting and the use of destructive fishing methods (e.g. dynamite fishing), pollution, sedimentation, and coastal development have destroyed many reefs in the South of Sri Lanka.
Among many restoration projects, Madiha-Polhena stands out due to the magnitude of the problem. In July 2001, the Madiha-Polhena coral reef ecosystem was designated a Fisheries Managed Area under the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act.
About 95% of the reef is dead, and the remaining corals are threatened by various conditions, including water quality issues. Restoration is carried out by creating dome-like structures with concrete, which act as both artificial reefs and a place for fish to hide and forage.
The process is supplemented by creating coral nurseries with the use of metal platforms. Broken coral fragments from the seabed are also replanted in the nursery.