Sanya West Island's Coral Reefs Thriving through National-level Efforts

By / SSTV / Updated: 17:32,01-December-2021

West Island, located in the southwest of Sanya City, Hainan Province, is only 3 nautical miles from the shore. With a total area of 2.68 square kilometers and a permanent population of several thousands residents, it is the second-largest island in the coastal area of Hainan Island.



As one of the important coral reef areas of offshore Hainan Island, as early as 1990, West Island and the surrounding area were included in the Sanya National Coral Reef Nature Reserve. In 2017, the island's coral cultivation experiment center was officially put into use, opening a new chapter of coral conservation in the island. Coral reefs have been restored and are thriving. In recent years, the National Reserve has also established the aquatic wildlife rescue station to carry out rapid treatment for all kinds of aquatic wildlife.



“It is a national nature reserve, which divided Sanya into three areas, West Island, Dadonghai and Yalong Bay. Each area has our protection station, but only West Island is the center of coral cultivation,” said Li Changqing, staff at the Sanya National Coral Reef Nature Reserve.

West Island Coral Cultivation Experiment Center is divided into two parts: laboratory and cultivation pool. Different indicators were set according to different coral species, in a bid to create an environment suitable for coral growth, and provide a large number of coral fragments and seedlings for transplantation.



Pei Yuebin, the engineer of Hainan’s Sanya National Coral Reef Nature Reserve, mentioned that the current global warming is having a big impact on coral reefs. They're doing an experiment to deal with the impact with some technologies. According to the introduction, researchers usually select mature corals over 20 cm and intercept "branches" of about 5 cm. In a suitable artificial environment, the branches will germinate like a small tree. When the time is right, the researchers cut off the newly grown coral buds, plant them into the base, fix them on the artificial coral frame, and finally release them to the sea to achieve the effect of coral mass production. This can reduce dependence and destruction on wild natural coral reefs, and achieve intensive, efficient, and value-added use of limited coral resources.

Besides, the Sanya Coral Reef National Nature Reserve continues to carry out biodiversity surveys, build data systems and strengthen patrol and law enforcement in the West Island beaches, reefs, mountain tops, etc. It has set up 6 video surveillance points combined with real-time patrol and law enforcement, to combat illegal damage to the coral ecosystem.

Since 2011, Sanya has invested more than 40 million yuan, successively launching the construction of four marine pastures, including Hongtang Bay, Wuzhizhou Island, Yazhou Bay and West Island, with 2,438 cement reefs and 72 steel boat-shaped reefs built and placed, together with reef-dwelling aquatic seedlings worth more than 2 million put in the reef areas. The placement of these reefs and seedlings has laid a solid foundation for the regeneration and growth of coral reefs. At present, the coral reef ecosystem in some sea areas has regained strong vitality and the marine ecosystem is gradually being restored.



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