HISTORY OF UTILA CORAL RESTORATION
Learn about how the Utila coral reef nursery project got started, our research with marine biologists and local NGO’s, so you can see where we are going!
Utila’s coral reefs are still some of the healthiest of the Mesoamerican Reef System in the Caribbean, as measured by the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People’s Report Card. Scoring the highest out of the Bay Islands, it means that the Marine Protected Area policies and laws contribute to local preservation of our reefs. Our local marine biologists created the coral reef restoration project to repopulate threatened corals on Utila, and also to create educational and training programs for divers, students and other researchers, as well as gather scientific data.
However, through our extensive research we have found overwhelming evidence that the protection afforded by Marine Protected Area management, is not enough to prevent degradation of reefs. Globally we can also see that passive management of reefs is unable to keep up with the many threats our reefs face.
Thus, the Utila Coral Restoration was established, to become the first project to actively restore coral populations and strengthen our reefs. We are sure that our active restoration project will be a great compliment for the policies that are already in place.
2015 – Inspired by the work of other organizations and other projects, the lead scientists begin discussion to create a reef restoration project.
2016 – The idea for this project is presented formally, and a proposal is developed. The support of other organization’s is acquired. Unfortunately, the proposal does not move forward and the project is tabled.
August 2017 – Kanahau Conservation and Research Facility officially partners with Utila Dive Center.
September – November 2017 – A new proposal is drafted, and submitted to the authorities in charge of scientific permits.
March 2018 – Permits approved by ICF and Marina Mercante.
April 26th 2018 – UCR installs the first 3 coral nursery trees and first fragments.
April 27th 2018 – UCR inauguration of project with special guests from Municipality of Utila, Instituto de Conservacion Forestal and Marina Mercante.