The Caribbean island of Bonaire will soon be getting artificial coral reefs manufactured via 3D printing technology.
Ocean advocate Fabien Cousteau and Bonaire’s Harbour Village Beach Club will be bringing 3D coral printing technology to the island later this year.
Through the new Ocean Learning Center created by Cousteau and located on the resort, the cutting-edge technology will amplify current restoration efforts in place by various groups and help advance reef growth for many species beyond just the coral itself.
“Coral reefs account for 25 percent of all reef life and $6.7 trillion of global economic development. Bonaire is in a prime position to enhance reef growth because it has so many natural, healthy reefs already. Our initiative with 3-D printing will rapidly assist us in revitalizing more stressed or damaged areas.”
Better at imitating real coral, the 3D-printed reefs will have the same shape, texture and chemical makeup that attract free-floating baby coral polyps. Creating a lush, colorful coral garden, these reefs will sustain other aquatic life such as algae, anemones, octopus, crab and more.
Eric Ewoldt, Executive Director of Harbour Village, says:
“We are pleased to use advanced knowledge of prominent sea issues to make Bonaire an example for the Caribbean and other areas of the world. We know 3D printing efforts have worked in Monaco and the Gulf States among others. With the development of our Ocean Learning Center, now is the perfect time to launch this technology in Bonaire.”
The exact locations for where the artifical reefs will be placed haven’t been sorted out yet, and await more local input. But as Cousteau said:
“3D-printed corals can generate real change and establish real growth for reefs, one of the key attractions for visitors and divers alike in Bonaire. This technology is less labor-intensive than current coral restoration processes, creating a larger impact in a shorter amount of time.”