Israeli and Jordanian scientists has developed the Red Sea‘s first artificial coral reef.

Take a dive off the coast of Eilat these days and you’re liable to find yourself swimming around a huge yellow concrete and wire construction that stretches four yards up from the seabed, is four yards wide, and is full of holes.

The reef is a unique new approach to conservation in the Red Sea and part of a joint co-operative project between Israel and Jordan.

Dr. Nadav Shashar, the supervisor of the research project, and a marine biologist at the National Center for Mariculture, says “Because of the increase in the number of visitors, the coral reefs are unable to overcome the damage caused and are beginning to die out.

Part of the problem is novice divers. “They kick up the sand, or damage the corals by accident. Multiple that by 100,000 people and that’s considerable damage,” says Shashar. “These people don’t mean to harm the reefs, but they just don’t know how to dive properly.”

The developers hope that the artificial reef will create a new attraction for these divers, steering them away from the natural reefs, reducing the pressure there and enabling them to recover from some of the damage inflicted on them over the last few years.

At the same time, the Tamar reef which is located near Coral Beach also provides the researchers with a unique underwater laboratory, enabling them to observe and unravel the development and growth of this unique and complex ecosystem.

Further reading: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

What do you think of this news item? Join a discussion.