Government of Puerto Rico buys printers to manufacture artificial corals

The Department of Economic Development (DDEC) of Puerto Rico acquired three printers for $50,000 to manufacture artificial corals and implant at least 36,000 of them in the next three years on the island-municipality of Culebra.

The production of these artificial corals will be in charge of the DDEC Youth Development Program, together with the Engine-4 & T-Mobile 5G N-BIOT Laboratory, with the purpose of reinforcing the marine ecosystem that protects the coasts of Puerto Rico.

"Protecting and caring for the marine habitat is essential to combat coastal erosion, largely affected by climate change."said Manuel Cidre, secretary of the DDEC, in a press release.

The artificial corals will be implanted between 19 and 32 feet deep on the shores of Culebrawhere three protection zones are developed.

During the first phase of the Program, the installation of over 36,000 artificial corals is expected in the next three years with the help of biologists from the Marine Environment Society.

For his part, Luis A. Torres, co-founder of Engine-4 Corp., explained that his company produces coral species such as acropora cervicornis, acropora palmata and brain coral.

The Engine-4 Laboratory has the capacity to create over 1,000 pieces per month, thanks to the DDEC grant and the three units that joined the 3D team in its laboratory.

According to Torres, the process consists of collecting the pieces of coral damaged by boats or sea currents, to take them to a marine farm so that they grow and then adhere them to the artificial ones.

After a period between Eight to 10 months, the corn coral part disintegrates, leaving only the natural coral.

In August 2021, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, declared an ecological emergency due to the rapid spread of hard coral tissue loss disease, which represents a direct threat to the island’s environment and economy.

Pierluisi also signed Executive Order 2021-66, which authorized the Disbursement Oversight Committee, created last year, to allocate $1 million to the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources for natural resources and conservation initiatives.

The massive death of corals implies the extinction of multiple important species, constituting a significant loss of marine diversity.

The reefs can buffer between 50 and 90% of the wave energy, so if they disappear, the ability to attenuate the waves is lost and, given the phenomenon of climate change that impacts Puerto Rico, this means a high level of risk. of coastal erosion.

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