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Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners

by Fundación Grupo Puntacana
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Transforming Local Fishermen Into Coral Gardeners
Coral Gardeners
Coral Gardeners

Continuing with the restoration efforts of the Fundación Grupo Puntacana, the group of coral gardeners (Fausto, Joel and Alberto) has dedicated itself to planting 264 colonies of the staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), which represents 350.37 meters of live coral tissue, in the degraded reefs in the Punta Cana region since last March. Likewise, they supported the transplantation of 192 micro - fragments grown at the facilities of the Marine Innovation Center. Additionally, they have contributed with the evaluation of 12 of 61 coral transplant sites, which will help a more effective restoration of those sites that have been suitable to continue restoring them. Finally, the coral gardeners have been collaborating with other scientific restoration projects in charge of interns or volunteers of the CIM, with the purpose of improving the techniques and methodologies of the restoration efforts that the Foundation is currently carrying out.

Coral Gardeners 2
Coral Gardeners 2
Coral Gardeners 3
Coral Gardeners 3
Coral Gardens
Coral Gardens
Table I
Table I

The transplant effort of coral fragments during the year 2018, began in the month of April and was completed in the month of December. During this period, a total of 1,023 fragments of the Acropora Cervicornis coral from the Puntacana Group Aquarium were transplanted. This corresponds to 887.38 meters of living coral tissue (Table I).

Table I. Number of fragments, total of transplanted tissue and number of tissue receptor sites of Acropora Cervicornis coral per month, during 2018. 

These fragments were transplanted in 9 different optimal sites as receptors of coral tissue (Table II), 4 of them were established during this season.

Attached are some photographs of the coral gardeners doing different activities within the process of transplanting coral fragments.

Table II. Geographic location of the transplant sites during the year 2018.

Table II
Table II
Coral Gardeners working (1)
Coral Gardeners working (1)
Coral Gardeners working (2)
Coral Gardeners working (2)
Coral Gardeners working (3)
Coral Gardeners working (3)

Since the start of the program, we have hired 2 fishermen to serve as coral gardeners. These fishermen have been working on restoring staghorn coral populations along the Punta Cana coral reef.

In August 2018, the foundation hired a fisherman to serve as a boat captain for the coral gardeners. This fisherman was hired because of his Pleasure Craft Operational Certification that he obtained through the Dominican Navy, which allows them to handle vessels of up to 46’ in length. This training was made possible by generous donations like yours.

One more fisherman is schedule to start working as a coral gardener during the first week of October, completing the team of coral gardeners proposed in this project.

In April, when the fishermen started work, they were able to transplant 112 linear meters of staghorn coral back onto natural reefs. To date, the two fishermen working have transplanted over 734 meters of coral tissue using coral fragments from the foundations staghorn in-water coral nursery. Every transplant site contains at least 3 different genetic material ensuring that the corals have all they need to promote a natural reproduction.

The foundation, continues to explore ways in which it can facilitate transplantation efforts. As a result, the foundation is building a new 22ft boat to help the fishermen increase their restoration efforts.

We hope to achieve 1,000 meters of linear tissue transplanted back onto the local reefs by the end of November 2018!

Boat for Coral Gardeners transportation
Boat for Coral Gardeners transportation
Boat for Coral Gardeners transportation (photo #2)
Boat for Coral Gardeners transportation (photo #2)

We're really exctied to share that two fishermen have been already hired to be part of a coral planting team and one more fisherman was interviewed for possible hiring. The fishermen have been gardening and planting corals over the last two months.

An estimated total of 330 meters of tissue have been sown, distributed in approximately 429 fragments of coral. We're in the process of buying a 26 foot boat and a 60 HP engine, to help with the fishermen transportation and and improve the monitoring of the already planted corals and future gardering works. 

We're very happy about how this project is doing and very optimistic about the upcoming results. Here are some great pictures of our recent efforts. Let's keep saving Corals! 

South Pole expedition that supported our project.
South Pole expedition that supported our project.

Over the last couple of months, we have spread the word all over our community and beyond to support this project with amazing response so far. Inspired by this project, many have showed interest in becoming volunteers of the Coral Restoration Program and have started the training process as well.

Last December, an expedition to the South Pole led by Mr. Arata, who is part of Puntacana Resort & Club's community, successfully supported and help promoting the project, resulting on very appreciated donations.

The Foundation staff has held meetings with 5 local fishermen to review with them the up and coming alternative income generation alternatives.

These same 5 fishermen have all expresses interest in forming part of Transforming Local Fishermen into Coral Gardeners project.

With the funds provided through Global Giving, the foundation plans to create one job opportunity for a boat captain and 3 coral gardeners. The goal is to create a 4 person coral gardening team whose mission is to out plant nursery reared, genetically diverse coral fragments obtained from the Grupo Puntacana Foundation's coral nursery.

We estimate that this group of fishermen and volunteers, will be able to transplant at least 1,000 linear meters of coral tissue back onto local reefs over the course of 12 months.



Coral Gardener Volunteer.
Coral Gardener Volunteer.
 

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Organization Information

Fundación Grupo Puntacana

Location: Santo Domingo, no applicable - Dominican Republic
Website:
Project Leader:
Jacob Kheel
Vice President
Santo Domingo, no applicable Dominican Republic
$49,831 raised of $90,000 goal
 
52 donations
$40,169 to go
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