This project trains and certifies local fishermen as coral gardeners, boat captains, scuba divers and artisans. Our goal is to reduce over-fishing on the reef while providing stable tourism jobs for local fishermen and their families. Fishermen will not only contribute to the tourism economy, but also to the health and well-being of the reef ecosystem. This innovative project will help restore local reefs and prove a positive example for replication in other tourism destinations.
Coral reefs have suffered from degradation and decline worldwide. The Punta Cana region, one of the most important tourism destinations in the Caribbean, has some of the lowest coral cover and fish densities in the Dominican Republic. Overfishing is one of the primary causes of the reef degradation. The Foundation is seeking to integrate a significant number of local fishermen, which have a negative impact on the reef, into conservation and tourism-based activities, such coral as reef gardeners.
By providing alternative income opportunities for local fishermen, the Foundation will be able to expand our coral reef restoration activities, recover local fish stocks, and provide viable livelihoods for local people. With increased resources, we will be able to expand our restoration efforts in the Punta Cana region and then share our expertise with other tourism destinations and countries, providing training and research opportunities for students.
The Grupo Puntacana Foundation has worked for over a decade in restoration activities in the Dominican Republic. Our goal is to restore endangered coral reef populations on the local reef in Punta Cana until they become stable, healthy and ecologically functional. We are seeking to create a positive example of tourism industry contributing to the health and well-being of the local ecosystem and replicating that example in other destinations.