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Marine biodiversity

Creating a complex marine community in the Persian Gulf

Increasing demand for electricity and a desire to be more environmentally conscious led the UAE to commission its first nuclear power plant along the Persian 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 Persian Gulf coastline is home to over 700 species of fish with over 80% of reef associated. 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 and avian biodiversity in the area.

Solution

An artificial reef was developed to house marine life and minimise any pressure that the marine ecosystem and local bird species and their habitats may experience as a result of the project. Our marine ecologists stringently compared the initial 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. We also advised and designed a coral relocation plan to minimise impact.

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 diverse and abundant marine ecosystem has taken root at the breakwaters and artificial reef sites – the beginning of a complex marine community.

UEA’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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