Coral reefs occupy less than 0.001% of the world's ocean surface yet they contain about a quarter of all known marine life,each meter of reef can protect an estimated US$47,000 of property value,and provide economic goods and ecosystem services worth about US$375 billion each year.Yet coral reefs have been experiencing a long-term decline for years now, and most recently they have experienced a very sudden and radical degradation, threatening related ecosystems, livelihoods and global economies.
Like in many countries, Dominican Republic's coral reefs have been declining rapidly due to overfishing, pollution, coastal development, urban and agricultural runoff, and now climate change, resulting on a global coral reef crisis hard to deal with. Given that most of problems affecting reefs come from humans, we play an essential role preventing and solving these problems. We also have a key part in restoring already damaged marine ecosystems, as natural recovery alone seems unlikely.
This project aims to support coral nurseries, an active restoration tool to preserve genetic material of endangered coral and enhance natural recovery observed in Marine Protected Areas. By collecting fragments of naturally broken coral or from existing coral nurseries, and re-fragmenting into more, then placing into coral nurseries for grow out, to be later transplanted back to the reef. This work will be carried out trained volunteers as a way to raise awareness in coral reef conservation.
This coral nursery program in La Caleta Marine Protected Area seeks to replicate the long term effort and success of Punta Cana Ecological Foundation and partners, and will serve as a replicate of biological material (corals) in case of any future impacts to a given location, decreasing the overall chance of coral nurseries damage by storms or other causes. Also, once coral nurseries grow in size and abundance of corals, the need to take corals from the natural reefs become unnecessary.