Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean (May 29, 2017) - While celebrating its fifth year anniversary, the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire (CRF Bonaire) transplanted the 10,000th coral back to the reef in Bonaire. This 10,000th Staghorn coral colony was grown at the Klein Bonaire nursery and transplanted back to Playa Lechi, one of the six restoration sites of CRF Bonaire.
“We are very happy to have reached this milestone thanks to the efforts and hard work of our volunteers and supporters”, said Francesca Virdis, coordinator at CRF Bonaire. “These 10,000 nursery-raised Staghorn and Elkhorn corals aim to restore damaged reef sites around the island of Bonaire.”
The CRF Bonaire project took off in 2012 with the original support of Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire and the Coral Restoration Foundation USA. “In the beginning we started with only two nurseries in which there were growing no more than 4000 corals”, explains Virdis. “We have grown to a hundred trees among five nurseries with a hosting capacity of 10,000 Elkhorn and Staghorn corals along Bonaire and Klein Bonaire.” In the last couple of years Eden Beach Resort, Harbour Village and Gooodive partnered up alongside of Buddy Dive Resort with CRF Bonaire. “We are proud to announce Tropical Divers will join the program this year.” These local dive shops support the foundation, facilitate education and courses and help spread the love for corals. A PADI Coral Restoration Diver Distinctive Specialty Course was developed in order to train volunteers and already 500 divers, both tourists as well as residents, received their certification.
Thanks to a funding from ‘Nature Funds BES’ last year the foundation was able to increase the numbers of transplanted corals and made a big step towards becoming an independent, financially self-supporting foundation. In 2016 this funding made it possible to purchase a dedicated CRF Bonaire car. Virdis: “In 2017 we celebrate the arrival of a new dedicated boat for the Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire, named ‘Coral Lover’.” Thanks to the funding from ‘Nature Funds BES’, CRF Bonaire was able to purchase this 35 feet boat, which can comfortably host ten to twelve divers. Another investment the foundation would like to do with the funding is to set-up three more restoration sites accessible to snorkelers. By creating awareness and extending accessibility the foundation hopes to involve more people, divers and non-divers. Other individual donations and the ‘Adopt a Coral’ program will stay vital to the further development of the foundation into the future.
About Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire
Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire (CRF Bonaire) is a Non-Profit Organization founded in 2012, when Ken Nedimeyer of CRF USA was invited to visit the island to work with and assist Bonaire with their continued efforts to preserve Bonaire’s greatest assets, its reefs. In February 2012, the Bonaire government together with the Bonaire National Marine Park, granted a permit to a local dive operator to start the CRF Bonaire Pilot Project. The project centers on the restoration of the shallow reefs by establishing Staghorn and Elkhorn coral nurseries and restoration sites. The mission of the CRF Bonaire is to develop affordable, effective strategies for protecting and restoring the shallow water population of Staghorn and Elkhorn corals along the coastlines of Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. CRF Bonaire, supported by the local government and the Bonaire Marine Park, is developing a large scale reef restoration program, promoting awareness and engaging tourists and local volunteers.