While celebrating its fifth year anniversary, 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 foot boat, which can comfortably host ten to twelve divers. Another investment the foundation will be making 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.