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In the course of numerous dives in and around coral reefs in the Capital Area of Oman, the divers of the Ras Al-Hamra Sub Aqua Club (RAHSAC) became aware of the environmental pressure imposed by human activities on these fragile environments. In an effort to reduce the damage to coral due to anchoring of boats for recreational diving and snorkelling activities, the club encouraged the installation of permanent mooring buoys at several popular sites around the island. As a result, mooring buoys were installed at six different locations over the course of 1997 with sponsorship from Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). In a further effort to positively contribute to the preservation of coral reefs, RAHSAC now wishes to proceed with a project involving the construction of an artificial reef south of Fahal Island using the best technology currently available. The main aim of the project is to establish the feasibility of restoring existing but damaged coral reefs and the creation of new recreational coral reefs and reefs for commercial fishing in the Oman waters. The project is a direct contribution to the implementation of Oman’s ambitious coral reef management plan. RAHSAC has obtained information from the Reefball Development Group in Florida on their method of artificial reef construction which is claimed to be the most advanced in the world. The dive club also obtained equipment and an unlimited license to build their own Reefballs based on the patented concept. In agreement with the Ministry of Environment and Regional Municipalities (MRME) and in close collaboration with the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) a pilot project of reef restoration using the Reefball concept has been developed. The pilot project will be sponsored by PDO and executed over a period of 24 months. Based on the results of the pilot project, additional reefs may be developed on a larger scale. Summary: PDO is sponsoring a project, executed by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Environment and Sultan Qaboos University, to promote the growth of coral reefs south of Fahal Island by means of "reef balls": large perforated, spherical shells of chemically adjusted concrete that provide a substrate for marine growth.

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