Boscobel fish sanctuary establishes its first coral nursery

boscobel

In another example of how great partnerships can achieve great things, The CARIBSAVE Partnership, the Coral Restoration Foundation International (CRFI), Sandals Foundation and local community members came together for a week during September 2015 to install coral ‘trees’ for the Boscobel’s coral nursery.

The Boscobel fish sanctuary washes the shores of the popular Beaches Ocho Rios Resort. The team of wardens proved to be enthusiastic, inspiring and very capable of taking part in the nursery instalment. Staghorn and Elkhorn corals in the vicinity were selected based on their size and health. These corals are typically chosen because they are fast growing, an attractive fish habitat and also play a major role in the wave attenuation.

The coral ‘trees’ were assembled on site at the hotel’s Water Sports, which sparked the interest of those passing by. Visitors and locals alike proved to be as supportive of the garden as the team was, with lively discussions and volunteer offers made. Even under water, whilst attaching coral fragments to the trees, the garden got its first underwater tour from a group of Beaches SCUBA divers. A promising start to developing the gardens as an underwater attraction, and form of sustainable financing!

The over 1000 coral fragments (or frags) that were seeded will be planted back to the natural reef when they are large enough. Some of the frags will remain as ‘brood stock’, and repopulating the ‘tree’ for future coral generations. From this point on, the nurseries become net ‘givers’ of coral to the reef. The coral was also measured to track the growth rate.

Two months in, and the trees are clean and the coral fragments look good. The maintenance of the coral garden will fall to the wardens of the fish sanctuary, who will continue to keep trees and fragments clean of algae until they are ready to be out planted.

This is the second nursery to be established under the ‘Establishing Coral Nurseries in Jamaica (ESTACON)‘ project which is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for USD$35,000 with match funds from the C-FISH Initiative, amounting to a total value of USD$70,000. The selected locations (and clients) are the fish sanctuaries located at Bluefields, Westmoreland (Bluefields Bay Fishermen’s Friendly Society, BBFFS) and Boscobel, St. Mary (Sandals Foundation) in Jamaica.

Disclaimer: ‘The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as respresenting the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government or the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.’