RoffaReefs founder Sander van Lopik saw years ago that worldwide the corals were not doing well. Instead of planting farmed coral, he decided to explore another solution to the problem. Coral is a living organism that depends on the fish that maintain it. Such as the well-known surgeonfish. Due to decades of overfishing, climate change and pollution, in many places around the world there are fewer fish to maintain and flourish the coral reef.

Installing the fish breeding system © WWF-NL / Casper Douma

Fish Breeding System

At Diergaarde Blijdorp in Rotterdam, RoffaReefs developed a method to catch fish eggs, breed them and release them back onto the corals. After years of testing in the ‘controlled’ environment of an aquarium, RoffaReefs moved its operations to Bonaire. After a lot of experimentation, it turned out that the technology can also be applied to the open sea. Thanks to the help of the local fishing cooperative PISKABON, nature organizations such as STINAPA, Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and WWF-NL, RoffaReefs managed to perfect the method and achieve the first important results. Other partners in the Netherlands are Rotterdam Zoo, TU Delft, Burgers’ Zoo and HKV lijn in water B.V.


After the promising first results of founder Sander van Lopik and his team, WWF-NL decided to help the start-up in 2022. RoffaReefs conducts research in Bonaire as a part of the WWF-NL’s ‘Dutch Caribbean Marine Strategy‘. As of January 2024, Diergaarde Blijdorp has permanently included RoffaReefs in its Caribbean hub. WWF-NL and Diergaarde Blijdorp have been very good partners for some time, which makes it even more wonderful that the separate ambitions merged in this overseas hub of the Rotterdam zoo. From its hub on Bonaire, Diergaarde Blijdorp will implement and support local and regional nature conservation projects.

Historic reefs

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