Nature conservation organizations in St. Maarten, Saba, Statia and Turks and Caicos will soon start planting structures made from bamboo and rope in their marine parks with the objective to regenerate coral species severely depleted over the last few decades. The focus will be on Elkhorn and staghorn corals, species which are fast growing and relatively insensitive to sediment, a signiﬁ cant factor affecting coral on all of the islands, said Nature Foundation in a press release.
With this project the participants hope to create new reefs. Nature Foundation, Saba Conservation Foundation, St. Eustatius National Park Stenapa and Turks and Caicos Reef Fund are now in the process of selecting the exact locations. The project is managed by the Marine Park Management Organizations, Wageningen University/ IMARES in cooperation with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and funded by the European Union (EU).
The plan is to source small coral fragments from so-called mother colonies of Elkhorn and Staghorn coral on the islands. The fragments will then be hung on locally developed ladder-like, ﬂexible structures that are placed under water with at least ﬁve structures being deployed per island. The trees can be removed to prevent them from being damaged by storms or strong current. The coral fragments can grow 10 to 12 cm a year: after three years in the nursery they can be transplanted to form parts of new coral reefs.
"Courtesy of Caribbean Gems Newsletter"