Did you know that coral loss in the Caribbean is at 80%? And that 9 out of 10 kids on our ISLAND don't know how to swim? Our goals for "BVI Art Reef": 1- Create desperately needed habitat for aquatic species and coral ecosystems to thrive in. 2- Fund local children's swim programs by charging a $5 fee to visitors on the sites (this money goes directly to swim lessons). 3- Create eco-positive publicity for BVI to encourage sustainable jobs and tourism. 4- Recycle hurricane damaged vessels.
A) Coral reef ecosystems are one of the most productive and economically valuable ecosystems on Earth, however various stressors are presently a major threat. From global warming-induced heat to tourism overuse and fisheries-induced stresses. The result of overuse by any of these industries can be disastrous for the reef. We are working to alleviate some of these stressors while also enabling cooperation between fisheries, tourism and education. B) 9 out of 10 children in the BVI cant swim.
Artificial reefs are proven to attract fish and other larger ocean species. They also increase eco-tourism and marine jobs therefore contributing sustainably to the economy. Additionally, it will be submitted to become a Marine Protected Area, which will help to mitigate relationships with local fishermen as well as stressors on fish stocks. Lastly, tourists have shown willingness to pay a $5 fee to visit such a unique site which in turn will fund crucial swim programs for local children.
Long term impact for the reef: It has been proven that artificial reef systems are an effective way to stimulate new coral growth while providing additional habitat for at-risk species. Long-term monitoring of these wreck sites will also provide valuable data to the scientific community studying coral reefs. Long term impact for children: By learning how to swim, local children are not only safer, but can go on to dominate the lucrative marine and tourism industries within the BVI.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).