East Coast Marine Life Rejuvenated By Le Méridien Al Aqah's Reef Block Structure Project
The clear waters off Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort have become home to
numerous fish species, after the introduction of 35 man-made reef structures,
which were deployed as part of an international project to rehabilitate the
world's ocean reef ecosystems and to protect the natural reef systems.
The extensive project began in June 2009 with 14 reefs and today was inspected
by divers from Al Boom Diving and volunteers from the resort. To date, more than
AED 100,000 has been invested in the project, going towards importing the reef
block structure moulds, fabrication, transport, deployment, and related
activities. Al Boom divers, assisted by staff from the resort, have also donated
"This project reflects our dedication to the research into aquatic life on the
East Coast and is a key platform to our environmental program," said Patrick
Antaki, General Manager, Le Méridien Al Aqah.
"The effects are already visible and we are laying the foundation to sustain
marine life for future generations. The artificial reef is already a viable fish
reef. All of the needed plankton and plant life is growing on the reef and in
time we hope to see signs of corals," added Antaki.
The reef block structures are artificial reef modules placed in the ocean to
form reef habitat. They take about five years to mature. Under Al Boom's
project, they have been placed several hundred meters away from the private
beach at Le Méridien Al Aqah to create a house reef. Al Boom provided two dive
speedboats to go diving on the Al Aqah Reef today, offering visitors free
"Diving is a great recreational activity, but it must go further in order to
foster understanding of the importance of protecting the delicate marine
environment. Al Boom Diving is involved with several scientific initiatives and
the success of the reef block structure project could not have been achieved
without the support of Le Méridien Al Aqah," said Simon Tambling, Managing
Partner, Al Boom Diving.
The 35 structures have been donated by various organizations including Fujairah
Municipality; Eco, a recycle plastic company in Jebel Ali; and FNCT and SIJI
Cement companies. Other project sponsors include Rip Curl, Lootah Group, and
Al Boom Diving presented the reef block structure project at the Dubai
International Boat Show in April 2009. The complex project involves moving the
reef block structures, which each weigh 500kg to 2.5 tonnes, by crane to the
water where they are placed on lift bags and floated into the ocean by boats.