What is claimed to be the world’s biggest coral-restoration programme is underway, as catfood brand Sheba unveils Hope Reef off the coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia. The objective is to restore more than 185,000sq m of coral reefs at sites around the world by 2029.
Hope Reef is being regrown to spell the word “HOPE”, as viewed on Google Earth, to “drive awareness and show how positive change can happen within our lifetime”.
Although the project is officially unveiled today (5 May), the reef restoration began two years ago. Since that time coral cover has increased from 5 to 55%, fish abundance has increased and missing species such as sharks and turtles have returned, says Sheba.
Hope Reef uses Reef Star technology, with 90cm-wide steel stars that are hand-made by the local community. The stars interlock on the seabed to create a stable base on which to regrow coral fragments.
The campaign has its own YouTube channel, where advertising revenue from every viewing of its video “The Film That Grows Coral” is donated to the Nature Conservancy to support its reef-restoration initiatives.
Sheba says this is the first time that 100% of funds raised by a YouTube channel have been directed towards sustainability efforts.