CORAL REEFS AND HURRICANE DAMAGE ON ABACO BAHAMAS
- 25 – 30% of the 29 reef sites surveyed are devastated
- factors include damage from debris, silt burial, and bleaching
- uprooted casuarina trees were caught in the storm surge, causing damage
- in particular, corals have been smashed and reef structure destroyed
- there is biomass loss – basically reduced populations of fish & other organisms
- removal of debris and other deleterious matter (eg silt)
- cutting back the non-native, invasive casuarinas from the shoreline
- restoration programs (recent successes with ‘coral farming’ could be vital)
- extending marine protected areas
- developing a rapid response protocol to meet extreme situations
The reports ends with some welcome news: Government departments have recently proposed putting $5 million towards a coral restoration project on Abaco, including the establishment of a and-based aquaculture facility to support coral growth in nurseries. Let’s hope that becomes a reality.
This has been an opportunity to revisit the clear waters around Abaco where Melinda Rogers of Dive Abaco took these astonishing photos of coral on the local reefs. If the coral is destroyed or dies, this is what our children and their children will be be missing.
Click the brain coral to link to the Nassau Guardian Article
All photos, Melinda Rogers / Dive Abaco; Map, Sandy Estabrook; Nassau Guardian / Paige McCartney; Perry Institute for Marine Sciences (PIMS)