Jolyon Collier is the founder of Counting Coral, a not-for-profit organisation bridging the gap between conservation, art, corporations, tourism and local interests.
As a highly successful businessman, Jolyon created his wealth in the construction industry. Over the years his success has fed his appetite to be in the ocean, initially as a surfer, then videographer and diver, and now conservationist. As a young man, Jolyon found himself drawn to Fiji with his surfboard under one arm and a video camera in the other. The videography of surfers was still relatively new, so Jolyon capitalised on this and sold his footage to the tourist surfers and whilst waiting for them to cruise past, Jolyon’s attention was drawn to (you guessed it) the reefs.
With a rather humorous, if not completely dangerous introduction to diving, Jolyon experienced the underwater world off the coast of Malibu and was instantly hooked. Since those days he has had an entire and rewarding career in the construction industry, ultimately leading to an early retirement and a change of focus back to the reefs.
Counting Coral is leading the development of Sculptural Coral Banks, a new and advanced method to aid coral growth. These structures are designed to support the growth of corals in a manner, that once they bloom they become part of the overall artistic design. Furthermore, the corals introduced to the structures are carefully selected from local reefs so that they can be reintroduced once a favourable parent coral has propagated.
Jolyon and his team of scientists, divers and conservationists install the sculptures themselves, select and collect the corals and will, in turn, reintroduce the corals back to the original reef locations.
There are multiple benefits to this system, not only are we protecting, preserving and promoting coral growth but we are creating a new attraction for tourism. Divers, freedivers and snorkelers eager for that next amazing picture or video have an epic backdrop with radiant natural light striking through the clear Fijian water. Local resorts that partner with Counting Coral can proudly announce their part in developing the ongoing eco-protection of their reefs. More importantly, the natural reefs receive some relief from visitors who may be unaware of how delicate an environment it is.
Finally, the structures can aid in scientific research and support those corals that may be diminishing. It’s also worth noting that those corals registered as “known” in Fiji are actually just a replication of what is found throughout Australasia, Jolyon’s team are able to identify those corals and have even possibly found corals that may previously have been unknown to Fijian Waters.
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