From left: Salinda Kandapola, Executive Director Christopher Fernando and Managing Director S.R. Gnanam of Tokyo Cement Group exchanging the MOU with Samitha Harischandra and Gajaba Ellepola of Wildlife Research and Conservation Trust
Tokyo Cement Group and Wildlife Research and Conservation Trust (WRCT) recently entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will unite their strengths on coral reef restoration.
The organisations will collaborate on coral reef research, rehabilitation and conservation through this MOU, making it one of the key building blocks of Tokyo Cement’s Coral Reef Rehabilitation initiative along the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka.
Tokyo Cement Group leads in channelling resources and garnering the support of stakeholders to make coral conservation and propagation a national initiative. This MOU is another step in this programme, through which the company will mobilize millions of rupees worth of investment over a period of three years on a string of activities that will include replanting corals, conducting scientific research and creating awareness on factors affecting their growth.
As part of the understanding, the WRCT brings in its expertise in marine research, training and education to perform field work related to coral conservation. WRCT will train the SL Navy and the Wildlife Conservation Department in coral nursery preparation, reef-ball placement, coral planting and after care.
WRCT Research Scientist Zoologist Gajaba Ellepola expressing his views at the signing of the MOU said, “As a keystone species to the reef ecosystem, providing essential habitat and supporting an amazing diversity of life, restoration of coral communities is necessary for the recovery and resilience of local fisheries and the conservation of marine resources. Considering the current rate of decline of coral reefs around Sri Lanka, just conserving it is not going to be enough. It is time to go one step further and restore the lost reefs. Coral restoration activities conducted by WRCT are a part of a larger effort to restore and conserve local marine resources and enhance local fisheries and food security. While the Navy, DWC officers and local fishermen are trained and assisted with coral restoration, we improve their knowledge about corals and reef ecosystems. Ultimately, the project contributes to the sustainable use and preservation of marine resources for generations to come.”