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Mars Coral Reef

A Coral Restoration Star Is Born: New Reef Star Factory is Launched

The Reef Cooperative, a collective coral restoration and conservation effort across the Great Barrier Reef, launches its Reef Star factory, based in Cairns.

Coral Restoration Across the GBR:

In September 2023, the Reef Cooperative, launched its Reef Star Factory, marking a huge milestone for marine and coral reef conservation across the Great Barrier Reef.

The facility will produce Reef Stars - the hero of the MARRS (Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System) approach - a hexagonal steel structure coated in coral sand to mimic the natural environment. Reef Stars are deployed in extensive webs to stabilize loose, dead coral and provide a platform on which coral can grow. The launch of the factory means that the hundreds of Reef Stars that the Reef Cooperative are installing across the Great Barrier Reef over the next couple of years will be built locally in Cairns.

In addition to creating Reef Stars, the factory will also be a springboard to create a reef intervention training program and center for First Nations people. Dawul Wuru Aboriginal Corporation project manager Gavin Singleton said it was important for traditional owners to be a part of conservation of their sea country.

"Being a part of the protection, management and stewardship of the reef is really important, especially considering the cultural importance it holds. We had some of our rangers travel to Indonesia to learn the technique of laying the stars and to bring that back to the Great Barrier Reef has been really special to help it bounce back from things like cyclones."

The Reef Cooperative: a collective coral conservation and restoration effort

The Reef Cooperative is a collaboration between Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, GBR Biology, James Cook University, Mars Sustainable Solutions, Reef Recruits and the Yirrganydji Land and Sea Rangers, and supported by funding founder, Cotton on Foundation.

The Reef Cooperative was launched in June 2022 and is a novel initiative, bringing together unique cross-sector partners to scale up conservation efforts across the Great Barrier Reef. Each facet of the Reef Cooperative brings a unique approach and resource to restoration, that when shared, can maximize conservation efforts to drive outcomes on the reef.

Check out more here.