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June 2021
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AZRAQ PARTNERS WITH FREESTYLE DIVERS  TO SPONSOR AN ARTIFICIAL REEF IN THE UAE FOR WORLD OCEAN DAY ON JUNE 8TH

AZRAQ PARTNERS WITH FREESTYLE DIVERS

World Ocean Day on June 8th saw AZRAQ co-sponsor an artificial reef with Freestyle Divers in Dibba Al-Fujairah. The artificial reef will provide the organizations with an opportunity to monitor the growth of biodiversity in the marine ecosystem as well as provide future divers with new and exciting marine life to see whilst diving in the area.

Artificial reefs are underwater man-made structures that mimic the characteristics of natural reefs. Once laid with appropriate materials, over the course of months and years, the coral grows, attracting fish and creating a new and healthy marine ecosystem. The artificial reef to be placed in Dibba Al-Fujairah will help extend the existing ecosystem, withstand damages from storms and coral bleaching and provide the basis to scientifically measure the speed at which the new reef populates with different species. Made from ocean-friendly material, the artificial reef placed in Dibba Al-Fujairah resembles the shape of a shark.

The Founder of AZRAQ, Natalie Banks said, “AZRAQ is excited to partner with Freestyle Divers and our other partners to provide the artificial reef to the Al-Fujairah area. Over the next one to three months of laying the reef structure, AZRAQ hopes to see new marine species arrive at the site, including Batfish. The reef will be surveyed monthly by our marine biology team, who will measure and document the reef colonisation and publish statistics on the ecosystem’s progress. The UAE is currently home to 34 types of coral, however 90 percent has been lost during bleaching incidents in 1996 and 1998. Through additional artificial reefs being sponsored around the UAE, AZRAQ hopes to increase the coral population in the country as well as provide additional habitat for new marine species. This is a part of the AZRAQ mission to protect, defend and conserve marine life, as well as enable partnerships to be formed with government, private entities and individuals for the good of the UAE and its marine environment.”

Darryl Owen, Owner and Managing Partner of Freestyle Divers said, “Freestyle Divers founded its marine conservation activity four years ago and has been refining its approach to coral conservation every year. Our coral nursery and artificial reef structures have all been designed conformant with the latest thinking on ocean friendly materials and, based on our research, placed in optimal underwater locations to promote coral growth and health. With this, the partnership between Freestyle Divers and AZRAQ was a natural synergy with both organizations having similar conservation goals when it comes to the UAE marine life. The new artificial reef will be a great structural addition to Dibba Al-Fujairah and we look forward to seeing the many benefits it will bring both in the near future and beyond.”

Other companies sponsoring the artificial reef for World’s Ocean Day include Firetti Contemporary Gallery. Throughout June, additional artificial reefs will be added to the Coral Garden around Dibba Rock through further sponsorships from different companies. AZRAQ will continue to offer sponsorship opportunities for other companies to create their own underwater legacy through an artificial reef, which can be achieved by contacting AZRAQ directly.

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