WILLEMSTAD – On May 6th, 2018, The Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao (CRF Curaçao) officially celebrated their 3rd Anniversary with a full day of coral out planting activities supported by community volunteers, local dive operations and the Curacao Hospitality and Tourism Association’s (CHATA) Dive Task Force.
CRF Curaçao began operations in May 2015, initially only starting the nursery (located on the Ocean Encounters house reef at Lions Dive & Beach Resort) with 400 coral fragments of Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) hanging from 10 “trees”. Later, an additional 10 trees were installed in that same year, populated with fragments of corals from the first trees. By 2016, the nurseries held 1250 corals.
Since the launch in 2015, CRF Curaçao has successfully now out now planted over 4000 corals at various popular dive sites along Curaçao’s southeastern coastline. Additionally, the Foundation’s Board has “branched out” and expanded the nurseries by enlisting Atlantis Diving Curaçao as a new CRF Curaçao affiliate member. By doing so, the Foundation’s Board is confident that they can provide triple the number of coral fragments available to be out planted back onto Curaçao’s fringing reefs.
Ruud de Loos, Managing Director of Atlantis Diving Curacao says: “The Coral Restoration Foundation Curaçao has so far 20 nursery trees and we, Atlantis Diving, have added 6 additional trees on our own house reef. The maintenance, monitoring and out planting is a very rewarding process knowing that we are positively contributing to the sustainability of the coral reefs around Curaçao. We appreciate the time and the charitable donations invested by local volunteers, schools, dive shops and (tourist) divers.”
The morning program started at Ocean Encounters Diving Curaçao (located at Lions Dive Beach Resort) with a group of community volunteers, who had been certified as PADI Coral Restoration Diver’s, left the dock with 18 divers aboard the Curaçao Galaxy and headed to Director’s Bay where they out planted 350 corals, from 7 different genotypes, on seven different structures made of metal rebars and bamboo.
In the afternoon, local dive centers (Ocean Encounters, CURious2Dive, Scubacao, GO WEST Diving and Scuba Lodge Dive Center Pietermaai) and the members of the CHATA Dive Task Force gathered at Atlantis Diving Curaçao to out planted another 150 corals, on 3 different structures, on their house reef. In total, 500 corals of 10 different genotypes were out planted across 10 different structures!
CRF Curaçao is dedicated to their mission statement which is “to bring back the shallow-water populations of staghorn and elkhorn corals in Curacao, which would not only help mitigate the possible effects of climate change but also rejuvenate reef fisheries and biodiversity, as well as help the scuba diving tourism sector.”
“The significance of the Curaçao Reef Restoration Program is that together as a community here on Curaçao, we will be restoring our shallow water reef system while educating our youth about the importance of protecting and preserving our natural ecosystem,” according to Pol Bosch, CRF Curacao, who adds: “I believe programs like this help solidify a natural sustainability for future generations.”
By supporting valuable and sustainable coral reef initiatives, like CRF Curaçao, you will be reaffirming your commitment to the island of Curacao so that future generations may benefit. Supporting this initiative through sponsorship and charitable donations is integral for success and volunteers will be needed for regular nursery maintenance and care. Donate, become a CRFC volunteer or Adopt A Coral today. Together, we are making a difference for Curaçao!
Photos courtesy of Turtle & Ray Productions HD