May 9th, 2023

Conservation update - Spring 2023

Vincent Kneefel, Mustique’s Environmental Executive Officer, provides an overview of conservation work completed in the first few months of the year and what is planned for the coming weeks.

Coral Restoration
Last year, an incredible 4,000 coral fragments were out-planted with the help of only a small team of volunteers, Watersports, and Ken & Denise Nedimyer. For 2023, our goal is to out-plant over 10,000 fragments on degraded reefs on the west coast of Mustique. Currently we have excessive algae growth on our nursery, so our coral requires more cleaning than usual, however, in June we plan to switch the existing vertical trees to a horizontal rope based coral nursery which will provide a structure that requires less cleaning. We are working with a video team from St. Vincent to document the story of our successful coral nursery and we will share it online as soon as it is ready.

Renewable Energy & Carbon Emissions
While currently around 15% of electricity on Mustique is generated by solar, with the new solar field coming online in the next few months, our output will rise to around 55 to 60%. The last update of Mustique’s carbon emission report was in 2018. As previously published, Mustique’s goal is to reduce our carbon emissions by 22% by 2025 compared to 2015. So over the next few months, once the new solar field is installed, we will be working on a new Carbon Emissions report to chart our progress.

Beach erosion around Mustique has increased significantly in the past 5 years and we know that the loss of seagrass and coral reef is exacerbating beach erosion. In February I did a beach erosion assessment with Canadian Engineering firm, Baird and also visited a number of seagrass restoration projects in Florida. From June to October we will be conducting an island wide survey of marine ecosystems (seagrass, coral reef, mangroves and beaches) as part of our watershed study. From this, we will be able to address overall beach erosion and plans to mitigate against it.

The permaculture garden continues to provide our community with beautiful fruits and vegetables. In order to increase our island’s resilience and to become more food independent, we are looking at the potential of growing more fruit and vegetables on Mustique. For our initial pilot, we are working with a farmer on St. Vincent to supply both The Cotton House and Basil’s Bar. As the year progresses, we will look to develop more farming for our island community as a whole.