BREEF heralds Adopt-a-Coral Holiday Special promotion a success

BREEF heralds Adopt-a-Coral Holiday Special promotion a success
Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) Research and Environmental Education Officer Mallory Raphael teaches students how to outplant corals onto a reef. (PHOTO: BREEF)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) is extending “heartfelt thanks” to all its local and international supporters who adopted coral for themselves or loved ones during BREEF’s Adopt-a-Coral Holiday Special promotion.

Coral fragments hang from the propagation unit with ”Ocean Atlas” watching over them. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BREEF)

“The abundance of coral adoptions combined with a generous matching donation made double the impact,” the organization said in a statement that highlighted the importance of coral reefs to The Bahamas.

It added: The ‘holiday special’ promotion was so successful, BREEF will be offering the opportunity again in February for Valentine’s Day, and encourages everyone to join BREEF in restoring our coral reefs by adopting a coral.”

According to BREEF, The Bahamas is home to 35 percent of all coral reefs in the wider Caribbean.

“Coral reefs have the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet — even more than a tropical rainforest,” BREEF noted.

“Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than 25 percent of marine life. Coral reefs also provide protection from storms, and generate income for tourism and fisheries.”

However, BREEF stated that “coral reefs are under serious threat from human impacts” including climate change, pollution, introduction of invasive species, coastal development, illegal fishing practices and overfishing.

BESS scholar Tonia snorkels beside coral outplants at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BREEF)

“Globally, 80 percent of live corals have died in the last 50 years,” its statement continued.

“BREEF works to protect coral reefs through coral restoration [and] education and by encouraging good policy decisions for sustainable development. Coral reefs are especially vulnerable to warming waters due to human-induced climate change, and BREEF’s staff closely monitor corals for signs of coral stress and bleaching.

“Climate change is the result of burning fossil fuels and warming the atmosphere and the ocean. Human actions have already caused 1C of this global warming, which has resulted in impacts such as the climate-fueled Hurricane Dorian. If global warming exceeds 1.5C, small island states, particularly low-lying archipelagic nations like The Bahamas, will be even more at risk.”

A coral adopted in June 2020, named “Chole”, which has since grown 20 centimeters and been out-planted multiple times onto a nearby coral reef. (PHOTO COURTESY OF BREEF)

The nonprofit organization noted its ongoing efforts to promote education and restore coral reefs in Bahamian waters, including the creation of the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery in waters off Clifton in 2014.
BREEF stated: “It Is an exceptional snorkeling and diving experience and is home to ‘Ocean Atlas’ — the world’s largest underwater sculpture and the location of one of BREEF’s coral nurseries.

“The sculpture garden is a perfect fusion of living art, conservation and education, teaching thousands of children every year about the Bahamian waters.

“BREEF has an additional coral nursery located on third largest barrier reef in the world, the Andros Barrier Reef. To-date, hundreds of corals have been out-planted back onto the surrounding reefs to help restore and rebuild this critical ecosystem.”

For more information, interested parties may visit BREEF’s website at www.breef.org.