Since 2016, REEFolution Kenya has been operating in collaboration with the Beach Management Unit (BMU) of Mkwiro, the Pilli Pipa Diving Resort and FireFly Ocean Camp. Together, we have restored corals in an area of approximately one kilometer of coastline.
REEFolution Kenya is located in the Wasini Channel, Shimoni (South-Kenya). This coral restoration project was established in 2016 in collaboration with the Pilli Pipa Diving Resort. Ever since, researchers from all around the world have visited our project to conduct important social-ecological research. We aim for our project to become self-sufficient so that the REEFolution Foundation will be able to establish more (needed) coral restoration projects along world's coasts. Together with local communities we aim to protect and restore coral reefs. Healthy reefs create opportunities for livelihood improvement for those who depend on reefs for fishery and tourism.
For many years, this area was damaged by dynamite fishing practices of mostly Tanzanian fishermen. Since the 1980s, Kenya has been more successful in patrolling and protecting the nearby Kisite-Mpunguti marine reserve but the damage from dynamite fishing and anchoring is still visible as coral rubble. Natural recovery will take many decades. Tourism, biodiversity and seafood stocks depend on healthy coral reefs, therefore we give nature a helping hand and kick-start coral reef restoration.
What we do
In short; we collect broken pieces of coral that are still healthy but will not survive when left in the sand. We call them 'corals of opportunity'. These pieces are placed in coral nurseries where they grow under optimal conditions to a suitable size for outplacement.Once corals are large enough we attach them to new reef units or directly plug them into the rubble areas. With a cement plug they are stabilized in the rubble area and new coral reef can grow out of there. Alternatively, we kickstart reef development by providing surface for corals and habitat for accompanying animals such as herbivorous fish and sea urchins. These animals keep the reef free of fast growing, smothering algae.
We grow corals in structures that are called 'Nurseries'. Once the coral fragments have grown large enough, they are outplanted onto bottle reefs or patches of degraded coral reefs. This will give natural reef-formation the kickstart it needs to recover.
To apply the best reef restoration practices, it is crucial to understand the ecosystem. Research performed by Wageningen University and Kenyatta University is important to optimize our methods and monitor the the restoration results and reef health. This knowledge can also be used in other places in the world.
Yatin, Project Manager, Dive Instructor
"I have been a dive instructor for many years and I'm currently project manager on the compound. It's fun having the researchers around and it's amazing to see the impact of our project here."
Ewout Knoester, Researcher, project leader
'In 2015 we started exploring possibilities for coral restoration in Kenya. More specifically in the area of Shimoni village near the Tanzanian border. Communities in this area mostly depend on tourism and fisheries. '
Preventing damage on coral reefs always outweighs reef restoration. It is therefore crucial that people are aware of the importance and fragility of coral reefs. We educate school children and other people that are not aware of the natural richness under water.
REEFolution Foundation adopts an innovative socio-ecological approach. We educate and certify local community members in our REEFranger program. During a time period of 3 months, motivated local community members in Kenya get the opportunity to become marine conservationists.
"The REEFolution COVID-19 Support Campaign": the REEFolution Foundation is looking for financial support to continue coral restoration activities during the corona pandemic. As a response to the 'double crisis' in Kenya (corona pandemic and coral degradation), REEFolution certifies local community members to become REEFrangers. After proving to be true conservationists, this will guarantee paid jobs as REEFrangers.
Joshua Wambugu, Social Science Researcher
“In December 2019 I started a research on societal impact of coral reef restoration in Shimoni n order to understand the impact of REEFolution Kenya on the improvement of local livelihoods."
Our team of REEF Rangers are locally trained conservationists who work at our project.
Guido Paap, project coordinator, Dive instructor, EducationAL DESIGN
"At REEFolution Kenya I teach participants the dive skills they need for coral reef restoration and educate local communities about the importance of healthy reefs."