Coral reefs are among the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Like underwater rainforests, they shelter thousands of marine species; from extraordinary sharks and rays, to world-renowned delicacies like lobsters and groupers. But sadly, climate change, overfishing, pollution and more are killing coral reefs all around the world. And scientists predict 90 percent of them will be dead by 2050. But we haven’t lost hope. The ocean needs our help, now more than ever and that’s where we come in.
With a home in The Bahamas, the Reef Rescue Network is a Caribbean-wide alliance to fight back against climate change and coral disease by planting new corals in a scientifically sound way. The process is simple and we liken it to coral farming. First, we collect fragments from healthy corals, and then we grow them in ocean-based nurseries where they’re cared for in optimal conditions. Once they’re big enough, we prune the corals and outplant their progeny onto struggling reefs.
Coral farming can be taught to amateur and expert divers alike. And each 5 cm coral fragment growing in one of our nurseries can produce >25 big fragments in just four years! This means that working side by side, scientists and recreational divers could grow tens of thousands of corals to replenish degraded reefs. Our vision is to create a community of coral farmers, or coral restoration practitioners, throughout the Caribbean; fostering better diving experiences, a growing reef restoration tourism sector, and above all, healthier coral reefs.
Within the Reef Rescue Network, we typically grow critically endangered staghorn corals (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn corals (Acropora palmata). These two species in particular have been devastated by the effects of climate change (coral bleaching) and coral disease. Both species are fast-growing within our nurseries, and do very well! Once they’re propagated and planted onto local reefs, the sprawling branches of these two species shelter and provide critical habitat for all kinds of reef fish.
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