Coral Protection – Puerto Caucedo

Lessons Learned

The mitigation measures were proven successful since the agreed Environmental Managements Plan was strictly followed and the requested environmental standards were fully met.


The water quality measurements never indicated any deterioration of the water quality and the health of the coral reef. This was confirmed by the monthly dive inspections carried out by an independent auditor. As a consequence, there were no stoppages of the works by environmental authorities, both local and international.


The numerical modelling indicated that the chance of adverse impact on the environment was minimal. In view of these results and the mitigation measures taken, the amount of monitoring would appear to be slightly excessive. Dredge operations are normally a 24 hours continuous operation. Also, the dredging method and material do not normally change during a day’s work in areas of constant material type, as encountered at Caucedo. Therefore, the requirement for 24 hour continuous monitoring is conservative.

However, these requirements need to be put into perspective. Local communities were afraid that the coral communities would be destroyed thus annihilating the local tourist industry. Their opposition to the works were very strong and could only be alleviated by the monitoring protocol. The financers of the project had similar concern.