THE Great Barrier Reef's first offshore nursery to grow corals that have survived recent bleaching events will be replicated in many other Queensland reef areas.
The Reef Restoration Foundation established a pilot offshore coral nursery at Fitzroy Island last December.
Now the not-for-profit social enterprise will expand this nursery and apply for permits to develop more in other Great Barrier Reef locations thanks to a National Australia Bank $400,000 three-year grant.
The method adopted by the foundation was developed in Florida Keys and the Caribbean where more than 25,000 corals are grown and planted annually in offshore nurseries.
Coral cuttings are growing successfully on six frames at Fitzroy Island and will be harvested in six to 12 months before being transplanted on damaged reefs. The original corals will be left on the frames to regrow so the process becomes a continuous cycle.
Coral reefs can take four to 10 years to regenerate naturally and researchers believe the nurseries will increase the speed of the coral regeneration process.
You can follow Reef Restoration Foundation on its journey at https://www.facebook.com/reefrestorationfoundation/