Fri | May 26, 2017

Sandals moves to protect coral reefs

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 4:00 AM

THE SANDALS Foundation has pledged its support to coral-reef restoration projects valued at more than US$45,000, which include the establishment of coral nurseries in Jamaica.

By partnering with CARIBSAVE, Coral Restoration Foundation, Bluefields Bay Fishermen's Friendly Society and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Sandals Foundation aims to combat declining coral-reef populations, 60 per cent of which are threatened by overfishing, pollution and climate change.

"The coral reef nursery project, on which we've partnered with these fantastic organisations, will produce approximately 1,200 coral pieces each year. The intention is to transplant them in order to increase coral populations, a crucial step towards maintaining healthy marine ecosystems in Jamaica," said Adam Stewart, president of the Sandals Foundation.

"We call for the region's stakeholders to take a stand towards preserving our marine ecosystems to ensure that future generations have a Caribbean to call home."

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's article 'From despair to repair: Dramatic decline of Caribbean corals can be reversed', coral reefs "generate more than US$3 billion annually from tourism and fisheries, and over a hundred times more in other goods and services on which over 43 million people depend".

GOOD MANAGEMENT, PARTNERSHIP NEEDED

"Saving the Caribbean's coral reefs will be critical for the future of the region's beaches, tourism sector and fishing communities," said Dr Owen Day of CARIBSAVE. "We now know that effective marine parks and coral restoration can make reef ecosystems recover faster than previously thought possible. It's not rocket science; it just requires good management and real partnerships between communities, private sector, Government and international donors. Sandals Foundation is fast becoming a regional leader in supporting these efforts."

The aforementioned partners will also see to training for fisherfolk and other organisations dedicated to marine conservation in the areas of building and maintaining coral nurseries so that more may be installed at a number of locations. Funding for this coral restoration endeavour was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the C-FISH Initiative (a UK aid-funded project through the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and implemented by CARIBSAVE).