PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas, Wednesday June 21, 2017 – Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in The Bahamas has completed a successful harvesting and out planting of corals to three coral reefs off New Providence that were destroyed last year by Hurricane Matthew.
This ongoing project – an initiative of non profit organization Atlantis Blue Project Foundation (ABPF) – helps rehabilitate damaged coral reefs by growing small coral fragments to repopulate reefs that have been eliminated through disease, hurricanes, or bleaching.
Since its inception more than 10 years ago, the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation has generated over $5 million through funding from Atlantis guests’ participation in the resort’s marine adventures and is dedicated to saving sea species and their extraordinary habitats throughout The Bahamas and surrounding Caribbean seas.
With the help of Atlantis Marine team members, The Bahamas National Trust, The Nature Conservancy, BREEF, Stuart Cove’s and Dr. Craig Dahlgren, Director of the Perry Institute for Marine Science/coral reef scientist, the team harvested 150 pieces of finger coral from one of Atlantis’ two on-property nurseries and 100 pieces of staghorn coral from nurseries established by The Nature Conservancy and managed by Stuart Cove’s.
The corals, as two-inch fragments or cuttings from naturally occurring corals and placed on lines or tree structures at the nurseries, were monitored as they grew at rates faster than they normally do on reefs. Once the corals were deemed healthy and large enough, they were placed back on the coral reefs in the ocean through multiple dives to sites that have been degraded by storm damage and human impacts.
“The ongoing coral nursery project at Atlantis presents an opportunity to educate people about the importance of coral reefs in The Bahamas,” said Debra Erickson, Executive Director of the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation.
“We are very proud of our established nurseries and our on-going efforts to help repopulate areas that have lost their coral.”
The Bahamas has more coral reef area than any other country in the region and one of the largest coral reefs in the world.