The Sandals Foundation launched phase two of its joint coral restoration project entitled: The Public-Private Partnership for the Saint Lucia Coral Restoration Programme for Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainable Livelihoods.
The innovative coral restoration project was launched in 2017 by CLEAR Caribbean Limited and the Sandals Foundation in collaboration with: The Ministry of Agriculture (Saint Lucia), The Department of Fisheries (Saint Lucia) and the Soufriere Marine Management Association. Additional project partners include: ANBAGLO (Dive Operators Association of Saint Lucia), Saint Lucia National Trust, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the German International Development Corporation.
Despite the benefits of coral reefs to the marine environment, coral reefs are in a decline. Globally, there has been a 40% loss of corals in the last 30 years. Whilst the Caribbean region, home to 9% of the world’s coral reefs, remains with only an estimated one-sixth of its original coral cover. Climate change, water pollution, overfishing, sedimentation and coral disease play a role in coral reef destruction. For instance, in the 1980s, a deadly coral disease killed over 95% of the Caribbean’s Elkhorn and Staghorn coral colonies.
In addition to having a negative environmental impact, the loss of coral reefs is also a serious economic problem in the Caribbean where large populations depend on fishing and tourism. By providing a vital home for marine creatures coral reefs act as a nursery for fish and a food resource for higher food chain predators such as sharks and whales. Consequently, growing and propagating corals as a form of assisted recovery to the degradation and loss of corals is now seen as a regional priority.
As such, the overall aim of The Public-Private Partnership for the Saint Lucia Coral Restoration Programme for Resilient Ecosystems and Sustainable Livelihoods project is to establish a public-private partnership for a coral restoration programme that will create livelihood opportunities in vulnerable fishing communities and increase the resilience and ecosystem functionality of inshore coral reefs around Saint Lucia.