A new project has been introduced to protect Bahrain's dwindling coral reefs and fish habitats. Bahrain, an island country located in the Persian Gulf, is set to start restoration work along its western coast soon. The new scheme to safeguard marine life has been initiated by the Bahrain Environment Society (BES) and funded by HSBC.
As part of the project, experts will select sites to create artificial reefs and examine the optimal types and sizes of these structures. Other factors such as detailed design and layout of reefs, cost-benefit analysis will also be considered. In addition, a review of potential sources of technical and financial support as well as an environmental impact assessment will be involved. The project particularly aims to protect the hammour, an endangered species of fish, and the sea bream. The island boasts about 31 coral species, including 25 hard coral species and 19 sub-species.
Commenting on the factors leading to the loss of marine habitats, BES scientific consultant Khalil Adnan Al Wedaei said: "The 1998 El Nino associated to global warming is one factor. "Most of the coral bleached, lost its symbiotic algae and died when the algae was not regained. Another is land reclamation and overfishing which affected stocks."