The amount of coral that covers the seafloor in the Caribbean has fallen from around 40% in the late 1970s to just 0.015% today. The loss of this important ecosystem has a direct impact on the country’s beaches which are eroding more quickly as they no protection from waves. With no coral to live in, fish regeneration rates are also reduced affecting the lives of fishermen and local fishing communities,
along with small and large scale tourism.
Seascape is a coastal restoration project that is working to reverse this decline. It hires local people and trains them as "coral gardeners", tasking them to maintain new corals and pass on conservation values to their wider community. As the coral in their area matures, the coral gardeners are re-trained as snorkelling guides to
provide a form of income, as well as maintaining the quality and longevity of the reef.
Goals and objectives
Seascape's methods have resulted in an 11 fold increase in coral nursery regeneration and a 97 per cent survival rate of corals. Going forward Dr Ross aims to work with government ministries, fishermen’s organisations and non-governmental organisations to restore "high-value"
locations around the Caribbean, with an immediate focus on the Jamaican north coast.