San­dals Foun­da­tion forges Part­ner­ship for Coral Con­ser­va­tion ef­forts in St. Lu­cia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Two of the most cru­cial roles of corals and coral reefs are to pro­tect coast­lines from the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of waves and trop­i­cal storms as well as func­tion as a means of shel­ter for ma­rine or­gan­isms. Due to lost coral cov­er­age in­side the Soufriere Ma­rine Man­aged Area, CLEAR Caribbean has part­nered with San­dals Foun­da­tion to es­tab­lish two coral nurs­eries with an aim to re­store lost coral cov­er­age as well as pro­vide a habi­tat for ma­rine life within this af­fected area. Dr. Owen Day, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of CLEAR Caribbean, high­lighted the project part­ners and ex­plained the im­por­tance of this ini­tia­tive: “We are de­lighted that San­dals Foun­da­tion is sup­port­ing this coral restora­tion project in Saint Lu­cia. Coral restora­tion is a proven strat­egy to help prop­a­gate and re­plant corals that have greater re­silience to dis­eases and the im­pacts of cli­mate change. The project is a part­ner­ship be­tween the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia, the Div­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ANBAGLO), the Soufriere Ma­rine Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, the Soufriere Fish­er­men’s Co­op­er­a­tive and CLEAR Caribbean Ltd. We are con­fi­dent this project will cre­ate sus­tain­able eco­log­i­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic ben­e­fits.”

Through San­dals Foun­da­tion’s en­vi­ron­men­tal thrust a do­na­tion in ex­cess of USD $47,000 was made to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment of the nurs­eries and for main­te­nance for a pe­riod of one year. The Foun­da­tion has also com­mit­ted to the de­vel­op­ment of a fi­nance mech­a­nism to en­sure sus­te­nance and man­age­ment of the nurs­eries be­yond the first year as well as long-term out-plant­ing pro­grammes which will as­sist with the re­silience of reefs in mul­ti­ple ar­eas ,as needed.

Jonathan Hernould, San­dals Foun­da­tion’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Of­fi­cer, ex­plained why San­dals Foun­da­tion joined the part­ner­ship for this coral con­ser­va­tion ef­fort: “We all de­pend upon the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment, es­pe­cially the Is­lands in the Caribbean like Saint Lu­cia. Coral reefs are an es­sen­tial part of the ma­rine ecosys­tem and without them we would have no fish­ing in­dus­try and our tourism in­dus­try would suf­fer greatly. With the help of CLEAR Caribbean and this coral restora­tion pro­gramme we are help­ing to re­store the coral reefs in Saint Lu­cia that so many peo­ple de­pend upon.”

The fish­ing in­dus­try is one of the ma­jor eco­nomic con­trib­u­tors in Caribbean coun­tries and is heav­ily de­pen­dent on coral reefs. With this as a mo­ti­va­tor, the Foun­da­tion has un­der­taken a self-given man­date of coral con­ser­va­tion through part­ner­ships across the Caribbean. San­dals Foun­da­tion has as­sisted the es­tab­lish­ment of five coral nurs­eries in the is­lands of Ja­maica and Saint Lu­cia.

Pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment both above and be­low sea level is one of the pil­lars on which San­dals Foun­da­tion is built. Through part­ner­ships the Foun­da­tion is com­mit­ted to bring­ing pub­lic aware­ness to the harm­ful ef­fects of en­vi­ron­men­tal neg­li­gence whilst pro­mot­ing proac­tive meth­ods that in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions may pur­sue.

The San­dals Foun­da­tion has made a do­na­tion in ex­cess of USD $47,000 to­wards the es­tab­lish­ment of nurs­eries and for main­te­nance for a pe­riod of one year.

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