|ANCAT DEVELOPS STRATEGIES TO RESTORE THE CORAL REEF|
Lying beneath the waves in the Southern Marine Park off Andros, Ancat and its partners have installed a coral nursery holding 150 elkhorn and staghorn coral fragments. It is anticipated that these fragments will be transplanted onto the coral reef to restore areas where coral has died.
In planning the coral nursery the first step was to choose an appropriate site for the nursery; location, depth and water turbidity where considerations for the team. The block nursery style was decided upon, this method uses cinder blocks being utilized as a base to which PVC pedestals were attached with epoxy. The pedestals are used to keep the coral fragments away from the ocean floor and prevent sediment burial and smothering. Pucks were attached to the pedestals using epoxy and provided an attachment site for coral nubbins. These pucks will be removed from the pedestals and used for the out planting. Small branch clippings from wild donor colonies were collected, stored in a cooler filled with sea water and immediately transferred to the coral nursery site. The speed of this transfer reduced the stress on the fragments, which were placed in the shade to maintain temperature and reduce their exposure to direct sunlight.
The coral fragments were then attached to the cinder block bases with epoxy. The coral farm will be observed over the next few months to maintain the coral health and maximize growth and survivorship of the nursery reared corals. During maintenance visits divers remove algae by hand or using a small brush, Divers also remove snails and fireworms, and check for broken or damaged fragments which will be stabilized at this time.
This project brings hope for the future of the Andros Barrier Reef.
Grants received in 2015 from :
Eco Ed Foundation, Tucker Foundation, Caribsave, Paradise Children’s Fund, Moore Bahamas Foundation, Lyford Cay Foundation, Scotia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation and Idea Wild.