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Marine biodiversity

Creating a complex marine community in the Arabian Gulf

Increasing demand for electricity and a desire to be more environmentally conscious led the UAE to commission its first nuclear power plant. It will be positioned along the Arabian Gulf coastline.

Fish swimming amongst the coral reef in the Persian Gulf

Opportunity

Our client, ENEC, is working to provide clean and efficient energy to the UAE to support social and economic growth. The Arabian Gulf coastline is home to an expansive network of coral reef systems which support more than 700 fish species. Committed to sustainability, ENEC sought to minimise environmental stress caused by the plant's development. We were commissioned to support a compensatory mitigation plan by guiding ENEC on global standards and prioritising the conservation of marine biodiversity in the area.

Solution

An artificial reef was developed to support marine life and compensate for any pressure that the marine ecosystem would experience as a result of the project. Our marine ecologists stringently compared the initial ENEC-produced compensatory mitigation plan against the international lenders' standards to identify factors needing further consideration and compensation against and then identified and evaluated potential methodologies for these. A shortlist of compensation strategies was subsequently produced for ENEC's review and implementation. We also advised and designed a coral relocation plan to minimise the project's impact on the sensitive and regionally critical habitat.

Outcome

Drawing on a range of expertise we helped facilitate the protection and conservation of coral and other delicate species. The results from a recent survey reveal that a marine ecosystem has started to develop at the breakwaters and artificial reef sites – the beginning of a complex marine community.

UAE’s first nuclear plant is a project of long term strategic importance which will not only contribute to energy security for many years, but will also help reduce carbon emissions.

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