A coral restoration effort off the shores of the Caribbean island of Curacao celebrated its one-year anniversary last week.
The effort began in May 2015 when the Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao‘s founders hung 400 coral fragments from 10 coral “trees.”
That Coral Tree Nursery, made of PVC pipe, is currently rooted off the coast of Ocean Encounters Diving and Lions Dive & Beach Resort Curaçao. The trees provide a safe and nurturing environment for the various coral species, including Staghorn and Elkhorn coral.
Under favorable conditions, these two coral species are able to grow and reproduce through fragmentation, then reattaching to rock then sprouting a new colony. Once the coral is strong enough, it can be transplanted to a nearby reef.
In its first year, CRFC staff installed 10 new trees with the help of volunteers, local schools and tourists. The nursery grew to contain 1,250 corals, with the largest staghorn fragment growing from an initial 5 cm/2 inches to 263cm/8.6 feet.
With such significant coral growth, the team felt the corals were ready to be transplanted to restore the reefs of Curaçao.
Last month, to celebrate the first-year anniversary, the CRFC staff invited the organization’s founders, Ken and Denise Nedimyer, to join in their efforts.
Between May 25th and May 27th, 360 corals were replanted between the Tugboat, Sweet Bottom and the house reefs of Lions Dive and Sunscape beach resorts.
CRFC Project Manager Pol Bosch said:
“What an amazing year! It’s a great feeling to give back to our delicate marine environment and to realize that together, we can make a difference. The health of our nurseries is extraordinary, and I sincerely believe that we will be able to outplant more than 2,000 corals in our second year.”
In addition to corporate sponsorship, the organization continually needs volunteers to assist with regular nursery maintenance and care. For donations and more information, visit coralrestorationcuracao.org or send an email to [email protected].