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To Combat Coral Bleaching, Kenya Turns to Reef Nurseries

Coral reef restoration ranger Yatin Patel measures an artificial reef structure in the Indian Ocean near Shimoni, Kenya on Monday, June 13, 2022. The marine area off the coast of Kenya at Wasini Island, jointly managed by a foundation and the island's community, has been planting over 8,000 corals a year since 2010 and placed about 800 artificial reef structures in the channel in a bid to restore Wasini's coral gardens.(AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
Coral reef restoration ranger Yatin Patel measures an artificial reef structure in the Indian Ocean near Shimoni, Kenya on Monday, June 13, 2022. The marine area off the coast of Kenya at Wasini Island, jointly managed by a foundation and the island's community, has been planting over 8,000 corals a year since 2010 and placed about 800 artificial reef structures in the channel in a bid to restore Wasini's coral gardens.(AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
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Wasini, Kenya (AP) -- Minutes away from the Kenyan mainland, the densely forested island of Wasini is one of several starting lines for coral reef restoration efforts in the western Indian Ocean. On a rare calm day during the normally turbulent monsoon season, four divers, carrying measuring equipment, shoes and toothbrushes descended in turns to the sea-bed reef restoration site on the Shimoni channel.

“We use coral fragments collected from wild populations to establish the nurseries,” said diver Yatin Patel, before slipping into the turquoise waters. “After growing, they’re taken to the coral garden.” Patel and his team, who are part of the REEFolution foundation, clean the coral nurseries and measure the sizes of the growing corals, which are supported by plastic pipes and pyramid structured steel nets.