Coral transplantation is just one option available to managers considering how to rehabilitate a reef. The decision as to whether or not you should attempt it should be dealt with at the initial planning stage.
Transplantation can be a cost-effective option for small scale rehabilitation efforts that do not divert funding from other coastal management priorities. Examples include transplantation of corals to patches of denuded reef close to diving resorts funded by paying guests, or repair of the reef at ship-grounding sites where there is funding available from damage compensation payments.
Transplantation may also be necessary, as a last resort, when decisions have been taken to proceed with a development (e.g., port or other coastal construction, channel dredging, pipeline laying) that threatens reefs, such that corals will be killed unless moved to a safe location.
The crucial prerequisite for coral transplantation is that any significant local anthropogenic impacts on the reef are under some form of effective management. Otherwise, there is a high risk that transplanted corals will not survive.
For most rehabilitation projects, the main issue is to find enough suitable transplants of coral species that will survive at the rehabilitation site. For mitigation exercises, in which corals are being relocated from an impacted site, the primary challenge is to find a suitable site to which to move them.