"We will set up country's first coral garden at Mithapur coast which will conserve coral species. Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Tata Chemicals Limited (TCL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set up the first of its kind coral garden," Senior Advisor to WTI, B C Choudhury said.
The project will be funded by the Gujarat forest department as WTI has signed a broader MoU with the state also, said Mr Choudhury.
The garden will house nearly all coral species found in Gulf of Kutch
Mr Choudhury, who conceptualised this project in the 2006, said that WTI got success in the initial experiments for conservation of the coral species at the proposed site which they think is fit to develop as coral garden.
As per the project plan of the Mithapur Coral garden, the reef will be separated into various sections where almost all the coral species will be made available at one place.
"The 'Mithapur Coral Garden' will be one of its kind and it will house nearly all coral species found in Gulf of Kutch. Just as in a terrestrial botanical park or garden, the reef will be separated into various sections, based on accessibility," a report brought out by WTI and TCS which contains the proposed plan of the Mithapur Coral Garden said.
"The tidal pools are primarily targeted for the coral garden. Each pool will contain a variety of corals, and will give a special emphasis to the placement of different species. It would be useful not only for education and tourism, but also restoration of the reef," it said.
Tourists will be able to watch the beauty of corals as the authorities plan to have wading, snorkeling, diving, representative pool, jetty and boat anchoring areas in it, the report said.
WTI Field officer of the Coral Reef Recovery Project S Subburaman said, "This is an opportunity to create the first coral garden in the country, which will have major role in the conservation by serving as the mother reef for new sites".
"This project run by Wildlife trust of India (WTI) is in partnership with Gujarat Forest department and Tata Chemical Ltd. Tata is our funding agency," Mr Subburaman said.
"Controlled and regulated tourism and diving can be allowed near coral gardens, ultimately helping in conservation awareness for common people," the report said.