INCREASE FISH STOCKS
Feeding Fish and Island Nations
How Additional Habitat Creates Food for Fish
Around the world, both coastal and inland communities rely on the ecosystem services that coral reefs provide. It is estimated that reefs generate an annual revenue of over $11.9 trillion from fisheries, ecosystem services (i.e. storm protection, medicine, etc.), tourism (Coral Reef Education Institute). Globally, fisheries alone from coral reefs are conservatively estimated to be worth around $5.7 billion (Scripps Institute of Oceanography). The fish that grow and live on coral reefs are a significant food source for over a billion people worldwide and contribute to both local and global food security and economies.
Coral reefs are large structures, built over hundreds of years, and as they deteriorate due to warming and acidifying waters, coastal erosion and runoff, and increasing frequency and intensity of storms, they are losing coral cover and their three-dimensional structure. On healthy coral reefs, erosion of coral structures is balanced by the accretion of new coral skeletons by healthy colonies.
The result of prolonged and severe reef degradation is that reefs around the world are being flattened. This leaves fish populations on the reefs without food and shelter, making them more vulnerable to predation, disease, and fishing.
IntelliReefs have been found to not only provide non-toxic, pH balanced additional habitat to shelter fish, but also grow healthy, vibrant reef communities with nearly 100% cover of marine organisms for fish to feed on within months of deployment.
Although they are often called the "rainforests of the sea", coral reefs are made predominantly from animals instead of plants. Coral reefs are highly complex, living structures comprised of many colonies of corals. These colonies are made up of many tiny individual animals that grow together, called coral polyps. Over hundreds of years, these colonies deposit massive reefs underwater, which humans rely on for food, storm protection, and tourism.
Each polyp has a mouth surrounded by stinging tentacles that immobilize planktonic prey and bring them to their mouths. Many coral species are also photosynthetic, and have tiny microalgae living in their tissues. The algae convert sunlight into nutrients, which are then delivered to the corals. As coral colonies grow, they deposit a strong calcium carbonate skeleton. Over time, these skeletons build up massive reef structures that can span for kilometres and house thousands of species.
Much like birds that flit from tree to tree on dry land, fish seek complex habitats underwater that offer a high amount of vertical relief. This provides them with shelter from predators, as well as a place to lay eggs and rear young in relative safety.
Fish are attracted to the structure of coral reefs for another reason; for dinner. On hard-bottomed substrates in marine environments, animals and plants fastened themselves to rocks, bedrock, and volcanic deposits. These marine species are anchored to the seafloor, and are known as the benthic community. Many fish on reefs rely on these animals and plants as their primary food source.
IntelliReefs Ocean Buffets
As reef loss continues to accelerate around the world, fish are losing valuable food sources and their homes. One of the fastest ways to combat these pressures is by deploying additional hard substrate into degraded reef systems to quickly build back three-dimensional habitat and provide healthy surfaces for fish populations’ food source - benthic marine plants and animals - to settle directly on.