It’s been 10 years since the first coral nursery was installed in Bonaire, helping begin to restore the island nation’s beautiful and endangered coral reefs.
In April 2012, the initial permit was obtained to collect from the reef a few fragments of the endangered staghorn and elkhorn corals, and to set up the first 20 nursery trees at Buddy’s Reef and on Klein Bonaire. The initial installation was completed with the support and technical guidance of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation in the Florida Keys.
Fast forward to today, and the Reef Renewal Foundation Bonaire (RRFB) is a successful organization, recognized worldwide for its tangible restoration results as well as the continued development and up-scaling of its techniques.
Over the past 10 years, the foundation has continued to grow and evolve, and now works on seven corals species using two different techniques, fragmentation and larval rearing. These techniques are used to propagate thousands of corals that are strategically outplanted to local degraded reefs on Bonaire every year.
According to RRFB Chief Operating Officer Francesca Virdis:
“The integration of the two techniques is very important, as it allows us to work on increasing both coral abundance and their genetic diversity, which are both critical to increase reef resilience and assist the natural recovery of Bonaire’s reef in the long term.”
Today, Bonaire has 11 coral nurseries, which host more than 15,000 corals of 75 different coral strains. Since 2013, more than 41,000 corals have been outplanted back to almost 9,000 square meters (96,875 square feet) of coral reef.
“An important result and a restoration benchmark of success, has been witnessing, for the past four years, the spawning of our own outplanted corals on the reef. When our corals spawn, it means that they are healthy, have reached sexual maturity, and therefore have started seeding the nearby reefs with life, assisting their population natural recovery.”
For more info about the foundation, go to reefrenewalbonaire.org.