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Coral reefs | Photo source Pixabay

Land-based farms could save ocean coral reefs

Science & Environment

A startup pioneers a new way to rebuild coral reefs while using an innovative financing method


US startup Coral Vita is piloting a new way to regenerate coral reefs. Using technology developed by Mote Marine Laboratory, Coral Vita co-founders Sam Teicher and Gator Halpern believe they can grow coral 50 times faster by growing coral on land instead of in more traditional ocean-based nurseries.

The new method is called micro-fragmentation. It involves breaking coral into small pieces that fuse back together. The founders say the new replacement coral will be ready in six to 12 months. The current, underwater method requires 30-50 years, according to the startup.

The startup has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. Additionally, the founders are aiming to sell the regenerated coral to resorts, governments and developers who profit from it — in a bit of creative conservation financing. The first land-based commercial reef farm is being built in the Bahamas. The plan is to plant the first crop this year.

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