Coral reefs are home to more than 1 million species on this earth. They are some of the oldest and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Reefs are also extremely important for the economy; they protect shorelines from waves and storms that cause flooding and erosion, support commercial and subsistence fisheries at a value of more than $100 million annually, and are home to a thriving recreation and tourism industry.
These important ecosystems are in danger. Coral reefs all over the world are stressed by pollution, sedimentation, overfishing, invasive species, vessel groundings, increasing unchecked tourism, and marine debris. Reefs are also susceptible to the effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and ocean acidification.
From November 15- 17, 2016, the Saba Conservation Foundations Education Officer Leslie Revel attended a ‘Workshop to Advance the Science and Practice of Caribbean Coral Restoration’, held at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The workshop consisted of three days of talks, group discussions, breakout sessions, and social events for participants to meet each other and connect. Over 100 people representing 20 Caribbean nations and Florida were present for the workshop. Some of the topics covered included genetics, land-based nurseries, in-water nurseries, community engagement and working with volunteers, site selection, disease and predation mitigation, and methods and techniques to upscale production and increase successful restoration efforts.
This was a fantastic opportunity for Leslie to engage with and learn from more experienced practitioners, and to bring home some ideas for Saba Conservation Foundation’s RESCQ Project (Restoration of Ecosystem Services and Coral Reef Quality), in collaboration with Wageningen UR, St. Maarten Nature Foundation, Stenapa St Eustatius, and the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund.