Coral restoration and replanting programs are good news for the oceans. Healthy coral reefs nurture a quarter of all oceanic marine life, shelter coastlines from storm damage and are a vital natural resource for more than a billion people. These programs are now springing up across the globe, and one of the most successful and ambitious examples is taking shape in The Islands of The Bahamas.
To date, the Reef Rescue Network has established 50 coral nurseries and outplanted more than 10,000 new corals onto the reefs of the Bahamas. What makes this program even more exciting is that you don't need a degree in marine biology to take part in this restoration project. Working with partner resorts across the Bahamas, the Reef Rescue Network recently launched a 'Coral is Calling' Campaign, which offers a range of immersive experiences and learning programs that support coral restoration and other marine conservation programs.
The Reef Rescue Network was created by the Perry Institute for Marine Science. For more than 50 years this non-profit research organization has been a pioneering force in marine conservation, working in the areas of sustainable fisheries, coral reef health, mangrove protection, climate change mitigation and coastal habitat preservation and restoration. The goal of the Network is to engage dive professionals and dive operations through a collaborative effort that brings coral restoration efforts to scale across a large area of the Bahamas. This initiative both connects and expands on the various individual efforts now being conducted on a local level, while also creating new avenues to raise awareness of the issues now facing the oceans.
Participating in one of the Reef Rescue Network experiences, dives can engage in these efforts while enjoying a dive vacation at a number of the Bahamas' favorite resorts and dive operations. The Network's flagship experience is the Reef Rescue Diver course, which includes in-water participation in the maintenance of a coral reef nursery and the out-planting of new corals. Divers who complete the program earn a PADI specialty certification. Additional PADI certifications include AWARE Shark Conservation and Sea Turtle Awareness program.
As of January 2024 the ‘Coral is Calling’ campaign had enlisted 24 partner operations in the Bahamas. The partner list includes many of the Bahama's most popular dive resorts, tour operators and liveaboards. Among these are the boats of the All Star Liveaboards, Brendal's Dive Center in the Abaco Islands, Neal Watson's Bimini Scuba Center, UNEXSO and the Reef Oasis Dive Club on Grand Bahama Island, Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros Island, Greenwood Beach Resort on Cat Island, Dive Exuma on Great Exuma Island and Valentines Dive Center on Harbour Island.
Anyone planning a dive vacation at one of these Bahamas resorts should consider adding a Reef Rescue Network course or experience to their holiday plans. It's a run and rewarding way to enhance your knowledge of the marine environment and become part of the solution for our oceans' future. Caradonna agents can provide more details on individual programs and how they can be included in upcoming travel plans.