Success of the Coral Nurture Program has been via research into ways to speed up coral planting, which led to the development by John Edmondson (Wavelength Reef Cruises) of a novel physical attachment device, Coralclip®. Coral planting can be from nursery reared corals or fragments of opportunity. On a healthy reef with reasonable coral cover, it is normal to have some broken coral. In the same way that old trees can fall in a forest and break surrounding vegetation, large colonies of fragile coral are vulnerable to damage in rough weather. Fish such as Bumphead Parrotfish can also be quite destructive when they are feeding.
Loose coral fragments (called “fragments (or corals) of opportunity”) sometimes re-attach, but this is often prevented by wave action, they may fall onto another coral colony, or fall onto sand and ultimately be smothered and die. The easiest source of coral fragments that can be planted, is from regularly collecting these broken fragments and planting them securely in places where they have room to grow well. There are strict permit conditions about collecting and planting “opportunity” fragments or corals.