Within the next two years, we are planning to produce at least 6,000 of these types of corals per year. We’ve also established a partnership with coral conservators Secore International that allows us to bring an innovative technique known as larval propagation to Bonaire. This is based on collecting reproductive material during coral spawning, fertilizing the eggs on land, and outplanting recently settled larvae back to the reef. The technique potentially offers us the ability to dramatically scale up the number of coral outplants, work with numerous coral species and morphologies, and increase the genetic diversity of corals on reefs.
In our case, reducing stressors is paramount. The Bonaire National Marine Park, together with the government and stakeholders, is working toward improving water quality, educating tourists and protecting the reefs. We have been successful in the majority of our sites; having a long-term water-quality monitoring program could help us to better understand why corals are affected more in some areas than in others.
With their help, we have trained more than 1,200 people as coral restoration divers. Among the participants are local kids and many students from abroad who see it as an opportunity to learn something new while giving back at the same time.
People can help with direct donations, making it possible for us to continue actively restoring Bonaire’s coral reefs. When people get together with a common goal, they really can make a difference.
Each Sea Hero featured in Scuba Diving receives a Seiko Prospex SRPE05 watch valued at $595. For our December issue, judges select a Sea Hero of the Year, who receives a $5,000 cash award from Seiko to further his or her work. Nominate a sea hero at scubadiving.com/seaheroes.