Volume 72

Large scale reef restoration in the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve – San Andres, Providence and Santa Catalina Archipelago, Colombian Caribbean

Azcarate, R; E. Castro; M. F. Maya; A. Rojas-Archbold; J. P. Caldas; M. C.A Diaz Granados; M. Gnecco
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 344

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


October 2017 saw the start of Colombia's largest coral rehabilitation project via two-step concept of coral gardening. The project objective is to upscale coral reef restoration actions in the San Andres, Providence and Santa Catalina archipelago to accelerate the natural recovery of intervened reefs, promote adaptation to climate change, anticipate the direct effects of anthropogenic origin, and reach a great social impact. In its first phase, eight underwater rope nurseries have been built with the capacity to grow at least 20.000 fragments of coral reef species. The initial stock was 5302 fragments of four hard corals, three soft corals and two sponges’ species. Six months after stocking (final stock of 13.468 fragments), the average fragment survival (89% ± 7 SE) and the increase in ecological volume (EV) recorded (365% ± 99 SE of their initial size) are within the reference values for reef restoration projects in the Caribbean. Construction, installation, stocking and monitoring nurseries and corals was conducted by more than 70 people representing different relevant social actors, aimed at developing the local capacity in coral gardening and the monitoring of coral reefs in the archipelago. In three years, we expect to see that the joint protection of selected sites with the addition of ca. 1.000 nursery-grown coral colonies per hectare, lead to a 10% increase in the live coral cover, fish biomass, aesthetic value and structural complexity and overall health at intervened coral reefs within the Seaflower MPA.

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