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Just a bit of background to my interest, involvements (me & others) and some
publications which incorporate artificial reef work done in Oman. I suppose
the local interest, official support has been intermittent and ‘minimalist’
but I hope we can put things on the map now and increase the effort. As we
all know large amounts of funding go towards the construction and deployment
of artificial reef modules but only very small amounts are channeled towards
baseline studies, prior to deployment, and continuous monitoring, following
deployment. We have done the best we can given constraints of time, lack of
project funding etc. Some history;
Three phases of artificial reef studies have been carried out starting in
Mina Al Fahal:
Phase 1 1996-1997, Concrete Pipe Module (when I was at SQU):
In a joint project between MRME and PDO artificial reef modules were
constructed using scrap tyres and concrete pipes with attached settlement
plates made from smooth concrete, aggregate concrete, tyre and coral. These
modules were deployed on 12-03-97 off the West Headland of Mina Al Fahal.
The Concrete Pipe Module (M1) remains as a long-term study site (tyre
modules were removed after storm damage-and possible toxicity effects, see
Al-Jabri, 1997). Studies on the succession of epilithic algae which
developed over 10 months from deployment (12-03-97) on four types of
settlement plates attached to the Concrete Pipe Artificial Reef Module (M1)
and small modules both off the Marine Science & Fisheries Centre and near
the West Headland of Mina Al Fahal were presented in Al-Jabri (1997) and
Jupp (1998). Further details and photo-monitoring in situ of biota on the
Concrete Pipe Module are given in Cramwinckel & Jupp, (1998). Of great
interest was the recording of the first appearance of a hard coral
Cyphastrea seralia on the Concrete Pipe Module some 7 months after
deployment. Fish numbers, diversity and size range continued to expand and
by June 1997 included a grouper (hamour), the prime commercial fishery
target species in Oman. One of the measures of success for the experiment
was that commercial species would become resident and this happened far more
quickly than expected. Many typical reef fish were observed throughout the
Data from this phase were published in the following;
1. Al-Jabri, M.M.H. (1997). Marine epilithic algal communities on artificial
and natural substrates. Unpublished Student Project. Department of Biology,
Sultan Qaboos University, 38 pp.
1. Jupp, B.P. (1998). Marine Environmental Survey of Mina Al Fahal. Final
Report, 1998. COSMASCO. Petroleum Development Oman, 97 pp.
1. Cramwinckel, J. and Jupp, B.P. (1998). Artificial Reefs in Mina Al Fahal:
first phase success. PDO News, 1/1998: 16-21.
1. Jupp, B.P. (1999). Some coastal ecosystems in Oman exposed to oil
pollution with results from the 1997 monitoring survey of Mina Al Fahal,
Gulf of Oman. In: Technical workshop on Integrated Coastal Zone Management,
pp. 128-143, University of Bahrain.
Phase 2 1998-2001, Reef Ball Project (RAHSAC/PDO):
Reef ball artificial reef modules were then constructed by PDO and RAHSAC (I
had no idea that Reef Ball Foundation had given Shell/RAHSAC a grant for the
project with a proviso for 3 years of monitoring-news to me!), and deployed
at one main site on the south side of Fahal Island at depths of
approximately 4-6metres and 10-12 metres. Approximately forty Reef Balls
were deployed, over a period of a year, starting in November 1998. I helped
Dinusha de Sylva towards her study for a Masters on this (below),
unfortunately without much direct monitoring-but some! Of great interest was
the observation of colonies of hard corals developing, in particular on the
Shallow Reef Balls. These were first observed during a photo-monitoring dive
on 09-03-00 when small colonies of Acropora sp. were observed on several
Shallow Reef Balls (I was a freelance consultant then but this fired up
interest!). Some monitoring has been carried out and preliminary data on
mapping, fish species (13 species recorded on video-analysed by Jerry
Kemp).) and monitoring guidelines by De Sylva (2000).
De Sylva, D. T. (2000). The need for monitoring of artificial reef
structures; guidelines for an artificial reef monitoring programme for Oman.
M.Sc. Thesis, Department of Marine Sciences & Coastal Management, University
of Newcastle. UK, 36 pp.
Phase 3 2001-present, Reef Ball Projects (MRMEWR/OLNG etc):
Since I joined the Ministry in 2001 we have carried out sporadic monitoring
of coral growth mainly with rule/tape measurements of horizontal/vertical
growth rates of various hard coral species on the Fahal Island (S) Shallow
Reef Balls. The growth rate data presented are possibly the first in Oman
and will also provide baseline data for future monitoring at Fahal Island to
aid assessment of conditions at the north-western edge of Mina Al Fahal.
* measurements have been made on various colonies:
1. Acropora downingi on Shallow Reef Ball No. S16 (from September 2001 - to
April 2002, then died) with a very impressive horizontal growth of 37 mm/mo
over the period 03-03-02 to 19-04-02, i.e. a branch growth rate of ~ 1.8
cm/mo which is comparable to the fastest growth rates recorded for A.
cervicornis in Jamaica.
2. Three colonies (2 Acropora valida (?), 1 Acropora arabensis) have been
tracked on Shallow Reef Ball No. S4 (from April 2002 to present)
3. A colony of Acropora arabensis from September 2002 – to present)
* Resident fish at the Reef Balls included common reef fish such as
blennies, gobies, triplefins, dottyback, cardinalfish, moray eel, bream,
goatfish, damselfish, snapper with herbivores such as surgeonfish and
parrotfish Scarus persicus (data from Richard/Mary Field).
* The communities developing on and around these artificial reefs indicate
healthy conditions at these sites on Fahal Island.
These were reported in the second major marine survey of Mina Al Fahal I ran
for HMR/PDO in 2001:
1. HMR Consultants (2002). Marine Environmental Assessment of Mina Al
Fahal. Final Report, March 2002. Petroleum Development Oman, 97 pp.
This study was reproduced by PDO as a book;
2. Jupp, B.P. and Jamieson, A. (2004). The Mina Al Fahal Marine
Environment: Summary of Marine Environmental Survey of Mina Al Fahal, 2001.
Petroleum Development Oman, 83 pp.
I helped Musallam Al-Jabri with his M.Sc. study on the corals on the shallow
and deep Reef Balls at Fahal Island (S), which looked at coral distribution,
effects of currents, sediments at the sites;
Al-Jabri, M. M. (2003). Studies on Coral Communities of Artificial Reefs in
Fahal Island, Sultanate of Oman. M.Sc. Thesis, Sultan Qaboos University,
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, 81 pp.
Further deployments of Reef Balls have occurred as follows;
* October 2002: 40 Reef Balls deployed by PDO shallow and deep in Ray
(North) Bay, Fahal Island. Some 20 Reef Balls were deployed at 17 m then in
NW (Hamburger) Bay, Fahal Island but were not re-positioned into a shallow
* June 2003: 30 Reef Balls deployed by OLNG across OLNG site, Qalhat near
* December 2004: 40 Reef Balls deployed by PDO shallow and deep in NW
(Hamburger) Bay, Fahal Island.
* March-April 2005: 90 Reef Balls deployed by RNO shallow and deep at 3
sites on western end of Daymaniyat Islands, with re-positioning in May 2005.
* There is a Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries initiative to deploy Reef
Balls for fishery purposes along the Batinah; to date some 1,500 Reef
Ball/FADS have been deployed but no monitoring! I am trying to get more
We are asking OMIFCO (next to OLNG) to deploy some more Reef Balls at
construction-impacted areas of their site to aid in rehabilitation and
provide donor colonies to speed regeneration. Obviously more could be
done-but I suppose the various reports, articles, (3) theses are a start!
There is good scope, once Michel Claereboudt (SQU) and I have sorted the
photographic method for monitoring, hopefully for some detailed studies
especially on coral colony monitoring, spatial distribution of colonies on
Reef Balls in relation to surrounding donor colonies, micro-environments
(current, scouring etc), spawning and recruitment aspects, etc. I have
recently met Elayne Looker (copied in) a student at University of Wales
(Aberystwyth) who I still hope will do an undergrad project on this from
next summer but will certainly join in over vacation periods. It would,
however, be great if Reef Ball Foundation can help further
locating/supporting a postgrad (MSc PhD) student as this will enable focused
DR. B.P. JUPP,
Marine Pollution & Coastal Zone Management Section,
P.O. Box 175 Mina Al Fahal P.C, 116,
SULTANATE OF OMAN
Tel (MRMEWR): ++ 968 24692550 ext. 378;Fax (MRMEWR): ++ 968 24693946
GSM: 99418250;Tel/Fax (Res): ++ 968 24605384;E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org