Dubai, UAE: 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. For more information on AZRAQ, coral reefs, threats, the artificial reefs or sponsorship opportunities, visit their website – azraqme.org/reef-rescue.
Founded by Natalie Banks, AZRAQ is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit entity in the UAE. AZRAQ focuses on the protection, defence and conservation of marine life, as well as enables partnerships to be formed with government and private entities and individuals for the good of the UAE and its marine environment. The word “AZRAQ” gives credence to the nation’s mother tongue, translated from Arabic to English as “blue”, defining the marine environment that the not-for-profit serves to conserve and protect. Born in 2018, the foundation’s mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem and species. The organization achieves its goals by educating through awareness programs and motivating the community. In April 2021, AZRAQ was accredited by the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP, providing the organization with observer status to the Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment and its subsidiary bodies, an accolade presented to AZRAQ for its continuous charitable work done in the region.
About Freestyle Divers:
Freestyle Divers is the UAE’s home for underwater exploration, adventure, and conservation. With two locations, at the Radisson Blu Resort in Dibba Fujairah, and at the Atana Musandam Resort in Khasab, Oman (currently closed due to border restrictions); Freestyle Divers offers access, exploration, education, and conservation activities at the some of the region’s best dive sites, the Dibba Rock Marine Protected Area and the ruggedly beautiful Northern and Eastern Musandam coastlines. With the best dive centre facilities in the UAE, including unique features such as a 3-meter-deep indoor pool and a marine biology laboratory, Freestyle Divers offers courses & classes on land and underwater for explorers of all ages, skills and abilities. With safety and quality at its core, diving courses offered by the Freestyle Divers Academy include RAID, PADI, UTD and GUE courses ranging from beginner and advanced, to professional & technical, as well as courses on Human Factors in Diving. Marine Biology and Conservation Courses cover everything from fish identification to reef regeneration, while underwater Photography & Videography courses teach divers to document marine life in both day and night as the only dive center in the UAE to offer blackwater photography courses and trips. For young adventurers, Freestyle Divers offers a Kid’s Ocean Discovery Course and the whole family can enjoy snorkeling. Freestyle Divers is open 7 days a week from 8am and 6pm. For more information visit www.freestyledivers.me or call/WhatsApp +971 50 891 8207.