Coral Reef Research and Monitoring
Perry Institute of Marine Science, The Nature Conservancy, and The Bahamas National Trust
Coral reefs and their associated fish and invertebrate species around New Providence Island are among the most threatened in The Bahamas. Effective management of these essential ecosystems and critical resources requires understanding their status or health. It also requires an understanding of how natural and human stressors and management activities affect the condition of coral reefs and associated resources. To address these critical management needs, an assessment of coral reefs around New Providence, Paradise, Rose, and Atholl Islands is being conducted and a monitoring program developed for assessing changes to the status of these reefs along with their fish and invertebrate resources. Furthermore, managers will ensure that management measures are enacted in response to the science and other partners will share with the Bahamian public the status of their coral reefs and necessary measures to protect them.
Bahamas National Trust: Discovery Club
The Bahamas National Trust has a long history of pioneering innovative educational programs for young people. The Discovery Club was introduced in 1995 and combines concepts and highly successful elements of programs such as Boy Scouts, Outward Bound, and the Governor General’s Youth Award Program (formerly Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Program). The program’s goal is to help its young participants acquire the knowledge, values, and skills needed to generate respect for people, nature and history, and to become good environmental stewards. Its emphasis on volunteering, environmental ethics, badge certification, and using the outdoors as a classroom makes the Discovery Club program unique in the Bahamas.
The Blue Project provides funding for the development of coral reef kits as well as providing masks, snorkels, and vests so that children can snorkel and become immersed in the reefs in their own backyards.
Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF)
BREEF’s mission is to promote a sustainable relationship between Bahamians, visitors to the Bahamas, and the marine environment. Their conservation objectives are to:
- Support the implementation of a network of Marine Reserves
- Protect fish spawning aggregation.
- Ensure a continued supply of fish and conch for Bahamians
To help them achieve these objectives, they have developed a broad range of teacher training programs on coral reefs. The Blue Project is funding six, one-day workshops for science and social science teachers in New Providence and the Family Islands. These workshops will not only share insights on coral reef biology and conservation, but they will also feature how the tourism and fishing industries, the backbone of the economy, also depend on the reefs.
“The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.”
Teddy Roosevelt, 1907