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Divers brave coronavirus crisis to check on corals


KUWAIT: Kuwait Dive Team of the Environmental Voluntary Foundation is regularly examining condition of coral reefs in territorial waters despite extraordinary conditions prevailing in the country due to the coronavirus crisis. Mahmoud Ashkanani, in charge of environmental ventures at the foundation, said in a statement yesterday that the divers monitored the coral reefs skirting Umm Al-Maradem Island. Color of some reefs turned relatively pale and some covered with tunicates. The divers recorded growth of seagrasses and plants, zooxanthellae, algae, leafy and flowering plants, Ashkanani said. Moreover, fish circle in small numbers around the monitored 13 settlements of reefs where temperature peak these days to no more than 30.5 degrees under the surface.

While scouring the chain of reefs, the divers lifted stuck nets close to Umm Al-Maradem Island and freed stranded alive creatures and fish. Ashkanani renewed the call on fishermen to abstain from fishing near the reefs. He further noted theme of this year’s World Environment Day, that was marked Friday, was “Celebrate Biodiversity.” The logo is intended to address threats against one million species of living creatures facing extinction. The fishermen had in the past lifted various objects harmful to the reefs, such as abandoned heavy anchors and dumped nets. The reefs off the Kuwaiti coast had also suffered from bleaching in the peak of past summers. The foundation along with state authorities have repeatedly urged sea goers and seamen to refrain from littering the sea surface and bottom and dumping objects that hurt the reefs and other marine creatures. — KUNA

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