July 18th, 2017

Coral Restoration Foundation

From January 24th to 1st February a team of five divers from the Coral Restoration Foundation were on the island working in the two offshore coral nurseries, and planting new corals on some of the surrounding reefs. The goals of the trip were to deep clean both nurseries, outplant corals onto the reef, and monitor the corals that have been planted on previous trips. A total of 561 Acropora palmata corals were transplanted onto four different reef areas.

As we worked our way through the nursery, we removed any blemished corals and outplanted them onto the reef, primarily the reef we call “Cottonhouse Reef” which is along the north shore of Endeavour Bay.

We’ve learned that these blemished corals are going to struggle and eventually die on the trees, but if they are properly cleaned and attached to the reef (blemished side imbedded in epoxy) most of them will recover and start growing quite nicely. About half of the corals planted during the trip were these blemished corals.

This trip we began restoration and regeneration on a new reef in front of the fishing village that we’re calling the Fishing Village reef. In some ways this deeper reef (15-20’) is one of the nicest reefs I’ve seen around the island of Mustique. There is a field of large, healthy Orbicella annularis heads in the area, with lots of schooling fish living in the coral heads. The area we chose for restoration is shoreward of this lush area, and is currently, alarmingly, more like a coral graveyard than a coral reef.

This will be a big project to turn around but we chose this area for many reasons :-

  • There is evidence the area used to have an abundance of palmata

  • There are still some live palmata in the area (evidence that it can live there)

  • Restoring this particular area would provide shoreline protection for the Fishing Village and Basil’s

  • Restoring this area would increase fish habitat, thereby increasing the local fish population.

The longterm goals of the Coral Restoration programme is to monitor all the corals every six months to a year, and build up a profile of the reefs surrounding Mustique, helping to restore it to its previous state. We are indebted to the team from The Coral Restoration Foundation for their help and guidance and look forward to welcoming back to the island to continue this exciting project.

For further information please do feel free to contact me at nakita@mustique.vc