In 2018, marine biologists from the National Fisheries Institute Research Center in Puerto Morelos planted 4,000 corals on sick reefs in the Cancun-Isla Mujeres area and Puerto Morelos National Park.
The reefs chosen to receive new corals were suffering as a result of boat collisions, the impact of climate change or pollution. Planting new coral tissue in bleached areas of dead or dying coral gives them a new lease of life.
The biologists are using cloning techniques to propagate coral colonies in the Puerto Morelos nursery and they currently have around 15,000, with the goal of reaching 48,000 by next year.
Several years ago, Manchones and Cuevones Reefs in the bay between Isla Mujeres and Cancun were the first sites to receive coral transplants from the nursery and the coral cover has expanded considerably. As the reefs recover, populations of the fish and other marine life that make their home among the corals will also bounce back.