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Heart of Europe expands operations of Coral Institute – the Middle East’s first such initiative to promote marine life
Dubai, UAE: Developer Kleindienst Group enhances sustainability and marine life programme with the Coral Institute 2020 plan that includes carpet sharks, the seahorses nursery and a rehabilitation initiative
Kleindienst Group, developer of the master-planned Heart of Europe destination island, today announces the Coral Institute’s 2020 plan and the achievement of its key milestones. It is a unique initiative in the Middle East that will protect and expand the marine environment.
Its mission is to create a sustainable eco-system within the game-changing Heart of Europe island project that is expected to become a major touristic destination when it opens later this year.
The Coral Institute is an in-house research and development arm that will create new coral reefs and help expand the marine eco-system and help rebalance the underwater environment. This is part of Kleindienst Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme and in line with is vision of sustainable development.
The abundance of white sandy beaches spread across all the seven man-made islands that form The Heart of Europe, the Coral Institute will create and plant more than 100,000 new corals annually across the 500,000 square metres of coral reefs around The Heart of Europe.
Josef Kleindienst, Chairman of Kleindienst Group, said: “Coral reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor but support 25 per cent of all marine life. Over 20 species of natural coral live in the Arabian Gulf. It is important that we protect them.
“The Coral Institute aims at not only protecting the marine life, but also to expand their presence in the Arabian Gulf and help the marine eco-system to expand. Our science-based initiatives help coral reefs recover from some of the serious challenges they face today, including climate change and more acidic oceans.”
The Heart of Europe was designed with a zero-discharge policy and zero micro-plastics policy to ensure the protection of the Arabian Gulf and the 514 species of marine life that reside around the seven islands.
In order to achieve this important ambition, Kleindienst has adopted a number of advanced techniques including filtrating water to remove micro-plastics from bathing products, recycling shower water to flush toilets and irrigate the beautiful landscaping, and laying down silicon discharge installations to ensure this irrigation water does not seep into the ocean.
Josef Kleindienst added, “The Coral Institute is our CSR initiative and its mission is to protect the ocean and educate as many people as possible to identify negative human impacts on our oceans and the solutions to those issues through education, monitoring, and restoration.
“We are developing an educational program with schools and our partner schools will become a Member of the Coral Institute. Our message to the kids is “Leave it better than you found it” and to educate them on how they can contribute to develop and protect the ocean by using reefs safe sunscreen, quitting on using plastic straws and water bottles for example.
“Our Coral Institute strives to find new ways to reconstruct and rebuild damaged coral reefs as part of our commitment to sustainability. Over the years, the Coral Institute will become an asset not only for us, or for Dubai, but to the rest of the stakeholders in the region,” he added.
“In addition to this, in the waters surrounding the Heart of Europe, our dedicated Coral Institute is transforming the seabed. Its coral programme and on-site coral nursery is successfully growing 100,000 corals per year as well as seagrass and oyster beds.
“To date, we have experienced proven success using the latest technologies and innovations such as solar-powered electro-accretion technology, which uses a weak electric current to accelerate the growth and strengthen the corals in the hot summer temperatures and strengthen the coral reefs, the ‘rain forests’ of the ocean’.
“The development of the seabed into a vibrant coral rich ecosystem will not only benefit the environment but offer unique guest experiences.”
The underwater living ventures have inspired the Heart of Europe to develop the iconic Floating Seahorse, the world’s first luxury marine style retreat that comes complete with its own natural coral reef.
The announcement comes a week after the appointment of Juan Diego as Marine Biologist for the innovative development that will reinforce its promotion of sustainability and marine life protection.
Based in the company’s Middle East head office in Dubai, Juan Diego will be responsible for researching all aspects of marine life surrounding the Heart of Europe, as well as observing and analysing data, conducting experiments and documenting the evolution and behaviour of all sea life with the objective of understanding, predicting changes and ultimately improving the complex ecosystem.
The Coral Institute will expand the Heart of Europe’s sustainability and marine life programme with the introduction of the carpet sharks, a seahorse nursery and a rehabilitation initiative. The Coral Institute recently celebrated the second round of births of the seahorses a few days ago.These seahorses were released into the sea as a part of our repopulation program.
Carpet sharks are currently residents of the Coral Institute. The plan is to breed them and then release them in the waters of the project. They will be introduced in the marine ecosystem to diversity it and expand it. These sharks are human-friendly, they are bottom-feeders, primarily eating mollusks and crustaceans. They have elongated, slender bodies and cat-like eyes. They are relatively small sharks, with the largest species reaching no more than 91 cm (2.99 ft) in adult length.
“We were able to capture the birth of 200 seahorses with a go-pro camera and will be releasing the footage on our social media channels very soon,” Juan Diego, Marine Biologist, says.
Worldwide, seahorses are in trouble, threatened by habitat loss, and sold in a massive global trade. Seahorses swim vertically and most distinctively, the males carry babies and give birth to them instead of females.
“This can’t go on, or seahorses will severely decline. Seahorse species are listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, one step down from endangered. Our mission is to breed them and release them in the sea to ensure their existence is saved,” Juan Diego says.
“We are also developing a program to rehabilitate one of the largest fish species in the Arabian Gulf. This giant fish inhabits a wide range of marine environments, and prefers coral reefs for its habitat as an adult. We will release more information about this initiative next month.”
Sustainability and the protection of marine life has been pivotal in the development of the Heart of Europe – an upscale, sustainable and visionary mixed-used destination comprising of seven islands, which consist of 15 hotels and resorts, up to 4,000 holiday homes and hotel units, including the iconic Floating Seahorse Villas.
The megaproject will also feature sixty Spanish olive trees that are between 100 and 1,500 years old and the world’s first climate controlled rainy street and snow plaza.
Through a long-term approach to the management of surrounding ecosystems, the Heart of Europe aims to capture the growing demand from consumers for more environmentally-friendly travel and accommodation options, leading to benefits for both the environment and the economy, while potentially earning healthier returns for investors.