The conservation of our coral reefs is important for multiple reasons aside from being credited for contributing to the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Amongst its varied purposes coral reefs protect coastlines from the damaging effects of waves and tropical storms as well as function as a means of shelter for marine organisms. The fishing industry which is of great economic value to countries such as Jamaica depends on coral reefs. According to a Catlin scientific survey the Caribbean has lost 80% of its coral coverage in recent years. If there is progressive incline in the depletion of coral coverage this could lead to the eventual disappearance of our beaches and collapse of the fishing industry.
Between August 17th and 21st the Sandals Foundation in partnership with Coral Restoration Foundation and CARIBSAVE planted over 500 pieces of coral. These corals were produced from a nursery built within the Boscobel Marine Sanctuary on the north coast by the three organizations in November 2015. The out planting in surrounding areas to assist with the resilience of the reefs followed a nine month cycle that involved the production of the coral.
Jonathan Hernould, Environment Officer, Sandals Foundation highlights, “An integral part of the establishing of the nurseries is to allow visitors to the Caribbean an opportunity to get involved in coral conservation activities. Their involvement raises awareness on its importance that would contribute to the sustainability of our initiatives. We are excited to see the growing trend of visitors’ interest in Marine Conservation and look forward to partnering with guests on our future out plants. We have ensured that we planted elkhorn and staghorn corals which are two fast growing corals that should allow us to do annual out planting.”
Ken Nedimyer, Founder and President of Coral Restoration Foundation who participated in a recently held coral restoration workshop, lauded the efforts of Sandals Foundation and expressed, “Coral has been struggling in the Caribbean for over twenty years, unless we do something now it will all be lost. Restoration projects like these are what need to be done to raise awareness, gain interest and bring the coral back.”
Protection of the environment both above and below sea level is one of the pillars that Sandals Foundation is built on. Through partnerships the Foundation is committed to bringing public awareness to the harmful effects of environmental negligence whilst promoting proactive methods that individuals and organizations may pursue.