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It takes from six to 12 months for the coral fragments to grow 10 times in size.

At this size they're then used to repopulate existing nurseries and start new nurseries. As the artificial reef grows, so does the fish population that feeds on the worms, snails and algae on the coral.

The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea were once rich in biodiversity - they teemed with marine life, and many holidaymakers who go there still expect to see the soft corals, mollusks and fish they've seen on other reef dives.

The local hotels understand how coral gardens help attract holidaymakers - by donating money to the coral projects, they are securing a future for their own businesses.

Caribsave, an environmental organization, is trying to work with the country's 32,000 fishermen and women to help the islands' reefs.

Jamaica may be known for its sun and sea, but under the waves the country is batting to rebuild its coral reefs.

Manmade reefs have begun to see success after the island's corals were decimated by disease and pollution.

Only eight per cent of Jamaica's coral reef is still alive, and many of the fish that once thrived there have disappeared.

For an island trying to reduce its dependence on food imports, that's not an ideal situation.

"It's not all doom and gloom, there are areas in Jamaica where I still enjoy diving, there's a lot of coral and the fish are coming back - but it takes time," Buddo said.

Often referred to as the rainforest of the seas, coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

Peter Gayle from the University of the West Indies explained how a changing ocean PH level dissolves calcium carbonate, which makes up coral structures.

"It becomes less dense and is more susceptible to things like wave energies, and has a smaller chance to protect coastal areas from sea level change," Gayle described.

Caribsave coordinator Michelle Mc Naught said the private sector has a vital role to play in educating the wider community.

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