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Mars Coral Reef

New Year, New Beginnings for coral restoration in East Africa: Part II

This January, building on the 2023 success of the first Reef Star restoration build in East Africa, the Mars Sustainable Solutions team is back in East Africa, working in partnership with NGO partner, The Ocean Trust to conserve & restore Kenyan coral reefs.

The Ocean Trust

Following a highly successful partnership in 2023 with the NGO, The Ocean Trust, the Mars Sustainable Solutions (MSS) team returned to Kenya to complete a coastline wide review of coral reef restoration efforts, provide further MARRS training and identify future restoration sites.

The first part of the restoration mission was returning to Lamu Archipelago and the heartbeat of The Ocean Trust’s restoration and conservation work. The team had the opportunity to review the 1-year-old pilot restoration sites and were encouraged to see high survivorship across all sites. Building on this success, the team installed a further 70 Reef Stars, out planting +1000 coral fragments, bringing the total restoration footprint to over 200 Reef Stars. Alongside the expansion of the Reef Star restoration area at Iwani, Lamu Archipelago, The Ocean Trust team is also working to establish a community-led marine protected area (MPA) which covers the restoration site and connected reef system, covering a total area of ~100 hectares. The team is working to identify critical reef restoration sites within the proposed MPA with the aim of restoring the entire reef system – an exciting milestone for Kenyan coral reefs!

Moving from the Northern to the central Kenyan Coast, the team connected with Oceans Alive, a NGO based in Kuruwitu who have successfully managed to protect 12,000 hectares of ocean through community co-management and out planted 8,000 coral colonies. The team had the opportunity to witness two Reef Star sites, learn about differing restoration techniques and continue to build meaningful relationships.

A Reef Star build in action!

The final part of the mission took the team south of Kuruwitu to visit REEFolution, an NGO based in Shimoni along the South Kenyan Coastline. REEFolution, works in partnership with local communities and marine scientists to spread awareness of coral reefs and to actively restore coral reefs using a variety of science-based methods. After observing the success of a pilot Reef Star build, the MSS team provided MARRS competency training to two reef rangers and installed a further 100 Reef Stars, out planting 1,500 coral fragments.

"Our relationship with Mars Sustainable Solutions and having them as a scientific partner has been invaluable. We now have a web of restoration knowledge from across the world which we can draw information and data from." - The Ocean Trust

We look forward to continuing to partner with The Ocean Trust, driving science-based coral reef restoration and building critical capacity across the Kenyan coastline.

The wider Mars coral reef restoration program is now active and operational across eleven countries and 40 reef sites, covering all major tropical regions. Utilizing the Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) and collaborating with partners, we've now installed over 90,000 Reef Stars, out planting +1,300,000 corals, with coral cover increasing from less than 5% to 70% within a few years.