Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!

by Beyond The Reef
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Artificial Coral Reefs to fund kids swim lessons!
Anegada coral with SCTLD
Anegada coral with SCTLD

Greetings donor family, and happy new year!

Since we send these reports out every 3 months, I don't have any major news for you, but here are a few updates!

We have continued pushing ahead with the treatment of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) throughout the BVI. In the past 5 weeks we have unfortunately spotted it for the 1st time in the Horseshoe Reef of Anegada which is the largest reef in the BVI, and one of the largest barrier reefs in the Caribbean.  There are certain areas that seem to have been heavily affected and others completely unaffected.

The affected areas seem to jump around quite a bit leading us to believe that there are currents at play that we aren't totally aware of, but we are hoping to study this as well.  Additionally, reef cleaning fish such as Parrot Fish may be transporting the disease, so there are many factors in why it may be more prevalent in some areas than others.  While we sadly can't save the entire reef with our team or resources, we have picked several areas that contain very large Stony Corals, such as big beautiful Brain Corals that we have been monitoring and treating to ensure that some of the most impressive ones are saved. 

In addition to SCTLD, we have been monitoring our artificial reef dive sites.  Both the Willy T and Shark Airplanes are doing great, but the airplanes recently required some maintenance to secure the wings for a while longer!  We have also noticed some juvenile corals growing on the planes which indicates a recent coral spawning event nearby.  As a side-note to this, I have included a link to a video of nighttime coral spawning that we recently captured which is really beautiful if you want to take a look.

Lastly, we have just pulled our shark-tag recievers out of the water.  They are currently in a soap bath to get the algae off before we pull the card out and download the data this week.  We will include those findings in our next report and hopefully have more data on that then.

And finally, we have applied for our own 501c3 in the US, so be on the lookout for "Beyond The Reef International" soon!

Antibiotic paste (Amoxicillin and Base2B)
Antibiotic paste (Amoxicillin and Base2B)
Laura Arton (SCTLD team lead) teaches ID/treatment
Laura Arton (SCTLD team lead) teaches ID/treatment
Affected Anegada coral
Affected Anegada coral

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Affected coral
Affected coral

Since our last update, Beyond The reef has continued to remove siginifgant amounts of abandoned fishing debris (such as nets, ropes, pots and other trash) from the BVI, but since I wrote more about those in the last report, I thought I would focus this one on Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. 

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) is a lethal disease that affects more than 20 species of stony corals (or hard corals) throughout the Caribbean.  This disease was first noticed in Florida in 2014, and has since continued to spread, reaching the BVI's in 2020. Unlike other coral diseases, SCTLD is fast spreading and once infected, coral colonies can be 100% dead in just a few weeks (depending on size of coral colony). Although it was first spotted in the BVI less than 2 years ago, it is now present throughout the territory.  

Since Stony Corals are slow growing and form the building blocks of a reef system, their rapid loss will be felt widespread as reef systems play a vital role in coastal defence, tourism and fisheries stock (important habitat and shelter).

 

Luckily, a specially bioengineered antibiotic paste has been created that can be applied to corals to stop the disease and save the remaining live tissue. It has proven to be over 90% effective!  It is very labor intensive process and requires physically applying it to each coral, but it is currently the best known solution for mitigating the spread. 

 

Over the last year Beyond the Reef has been working with the Ministry of Natural Resources, National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands and BVI Scuba Operators to tackle SCTLD in the BVI.  

How have we been involved?

  • One of the main strike teams going out to treat corals, maintain and monitor the affected sites.
  • Assisting the Government’s marine biologist to train more strike team divers on how to apply the treatment.
  • Mapping and monitoring the frontline of the disease as it spreads.
  • Raising awareness in the territory of the protocols that can assist with minimising the potential mechanism that spread the disease.

 Thank you to Laura Arton of Beyond The Reef who has been spearheading this initiative and Tim Jackson for the photos. 

 

Antibiotic paste along perimeter of affected area
Antibiotic paste along perimeter of affected area
Treatment being applied
Treatment being applied
Affected Pillar Coral
Affected Pillar Coral
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Locations of cleanups- map available on website
Locations of cleanups- map available on website

Beyond The reef has continued carrying out all of the projects and efforts from our last report, but have since begun doing large-scale coastal cleanups!

These have focused on all types of marine debris, both in the water and on land. We have been mainly going to areas that are difficult to reach such as outer islands that often get the most debris piled up and are also the most neglected.

Since we have an amazing team of divers, we have been able to remove ropes and nets from incredibly hard to reach places. Our divers typically go by smaller dingy to collect the debris that is then brought back in loads to a larger vessel to maximize the amounts we are able to get.

Ropes, nets and abandoned fish pots are incredibly detrimental to marine life from smothering coral reefs to entangling larger animals such as whales and sea turtles (both of which Beyond The Reef helped to free from nets just this month)!

In addition to ropes and nets, we have cleaned a plethora of other debris such as general trash, galvanize building structures, boat materials, ovens and other debris that is likely a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

We are continuing to do 1-2 of these large clean ups every week, often filling up to 4 truck-loads.

In addition to this, our other main focus at the moment is battling Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease alongside the BVI Government and we are currently awaiting a larger shipment of antibiotic paste to continue trying to halt its spread. If you would like to read more about SCTLD, you can check out our website.

We are still continuing to raise and donate funds to support local kids swim lessons in the BVI which will happen in the summer months.

If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you, so please dont hesitate to reach out!

-Kendyl

1beyondthereef@gmail.com

Nets from one days collection
Nets from one days collection
Entangled turtle we were able to free from rope
Entangled turtle we were able to free from rope
Cooper island debris being trucked off
Cooper island debris being trucked off

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KATS Dock Rebuild
KATS Dock Rebuild

While 2020 threw us some curve balls, we made the most of it with smaller but still very necessary projects within the British Virgin Islands marine sector. 

 Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD)

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease affects up to 20 of the Stony Corals that are found within BVI waters. These hard corals are the main makeup of the BVI reef systems. Unlike many other coral diseases, SCTLD, is known to be fast spreading and can lead to widespread coral death at some sites in just a few months.

An antibiotic paste has been proven to be up to 95% effective at stopping the disease which is spread on the infected corals and then the corals monitored over the following couple of weeks.

Beyond The Reef has played a crucial role over the past 10 months in assisting the government in the monitoring and implemantation of this paste in hopes to halt the spread of the disease before it gets even worese. 

Kids And The Sea (KATS) dock re-build

During the hurricanes of September 2017, the KATS dock which was part of the HLSCC College in Paraquita Bay, Tortola was badly damaged and unable to be used. The KATS program encourages local kids to get involved with the sea including sailing, snorkeling and kayaking during summer months so plays a vital part in the community.

Beyond the Reef funded the cleanup of damaged vessels and debris in the surrounding area, plus re- built the dock structure in July so that the KATS programs could once again run.

Shark Tagging and Tracking

Beyond The Reef, in partnership with the US nonprofit "Fins Attached" has purchased the tags and recievers to begin a first ever shark tagging program within BVI waters.  The ‘ping’ from the tagged sharks is picked up if the shark comes withing a certain distance of three underwater receivers which have been placed in strategic positions around the BVI. This research will greatly help our understanding of shark migration within BVI waters as well as how far the sharks originating from the BVI travel internationally. 

Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease- antibiotic paste
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease- antibiotic paste
Shark tag
Shark tag
Shark tagging underwater
Shark tagging underwater
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Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark

Thank you again to every donor who contributed to our campaign.  We succesfully got into the GlobalGiving program which now gives us easy access for online donations. 

We are required by GlobalGiving to send out quarterly progress reports, so if you are seeing this it means you clicked subscribe! 

Beyond The Reef has just completed their 1-year survey of the "Willy T Wreck" and were blown away by the growth that has taken place in 1 year.  Not only is the ship loaded with benthic growth such as sponges, algaes and corals forming, it has becomes the home to quite literally thousands of fish.  The bottom floor of the ship has become home to thousands of small blue spats, while above the ship we documented barracuda, sharks and an array of Caribbean reef fish.  It seems there are a few "resident" sharks living aboard the ship who have now been documented and reported from others multiple times.  A reef shark that likes to sit underneath the captains table and a nurse shark that nestles itself in the sand at the bottom of the ship.

 

Beyond The Reef has also just purchased additional shark tags and recievers to continue shark research and monitoring in the BVI on a larger scale for the first time ever.  The BVI is a shark sanctuary yet there is very limited research to go along with the policies put in place for sharks.  Our goal is to place the receivers around Anegada where we suspect a breeding ground to be taking place.  Our question is whether those sharks remain local to the BVI or if this breeding ground feeds out to the greater Caribbeans shark population.  

 

Lastly, Beyond The Reef is hoping to begin fascilitating beach clean ups with local children in the outer islands.  Not only will this help to clean up the outer islands, but the boat ride, the exploration of lesser known islands, the marine education and the community impact taught on their weekend outings will hopefully spark a lifelong interest in environmental stewardship within the children. 

Thank you again for your support of Beyond The Reef and we will keep everyone updated on our progress! 

Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark
Gypsy lady coral
Gypsy lady coral
Gypsy lady coral
Gypsy lady coral
Growth
Growth
Growth
Growth
Captain
Captain
Captain
Captain
Sprats
Sprats
Sprats
Sprats
Anegada sharks
Anegada sharks
Anegada sharks
Anegada sharks
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Organization Information

Beyond The Reef

Location: Road Town - British Virgin Islands
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Kendyl Berna
Road Town, British Virgin Islands
$6,901 raised of $10,000 goal
 
72 donations
$3,099 to go
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