Corals relocated away from Tuas Terminal development thriving, says MPA

SINGAPORE - A project to relocate coral colonies to protect them from the impact of the Tuas Terminal development has yielded positive results, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on Saturday.

The corals were moved from the Sultan Shoal, southwest of Singapore, to three southern sites at St John's and Sisters' Islands, from September 2013 to August 2014.

About 80 per cent, or 2300 out of 2,800 coral colonies, were successfully moved, the MPA said. While the bigger corals were relocated to the three sites, over 1,200 small coral fragments were reared in coral nurseries set up at Lazarus Island and Kusu Island.

MPA said that 92 per cent have survived and grown in size of up to twice their original diameter. Around 420 coral fragments have also been transplanted and attached back to the substrate at Lazarus Island and Kusu Island.

Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo said: "Even as we start reclamation works at Tuas to grow our port capacity, we are committed to carry out the works in a responsible and sustainable manner. Therefore, before any works started on the Tuas Terminal, we conducted an environmental impact assessment study in 2012. We then took immediate steps to mitigate the impact."

She was speaking at an event held at Marina South Pier to recognise volunteers who helped in the project.

About 50 volunteers participated in diving activities to harvest coral colonies, attach the relocated corals to the suitable solid substrates, and set up coral nurseries underwater.