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Cyclone Gonu: After The Storm


Photo: Bruised: Jeffrey C. Catanjal shows a sample of the coral damaged by the storm

June 21, 2007
A damaged trail of coral left behind in the wake of Cyclone Gonu has changed the underwater landscape of some of the UAE’s favourite diving spots. In some areas, large areas of coral – which provide food and shelter to marine life – were damaged or wiped out. Dibba Rock has lost more than half its coral. A large, shallow area which was earlier covered by coral was damaged, but there is still a lot of marine life left. The damage at Dibba was “like someone had ground the coral”. In other areas, like Snoopy Island, the damage was less severe as rocks protect much of the coral. Still, casualties of the storm exist even at Snoopy Island, where some coral was ripped from the seabed. Soft corals suffered the most, particularly at sites like Martini Rock. However, being a fast-growing species, it will recover if the conditions are right. “Divers who are familiar with the area will notice changes caused to the marine life. We know for a fact that marine life recovers, but it depends on many factors. If there are additional industrial pressures, this will further delay the recovery period.”

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