Coral Gardeners Working To Restore Coral Reefs


There is a dedicated group of individuals, referred to as coral gardeners, who have been working hard with others, to restore the coral reefs in Jamaica.

You can find a variety of different grassroots fish sanctuaries and coral nurseries that have launched over the past several years, because they are passionate about addressing the issue of cleaning up the sea region.

It's believed that Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary was the first grassroots effort to try and make moves to bring life back to the coral reef in Jamaica, they were legally incorporated several years ago back in 2010.


The people are trying to bring the coral reefs in the region back to life, when many scientists had thought that most of Jamaica's coral reef had vanished and been replaced by seaweed.

It didn't look to some like there would be much hope for a turnaround, but they would've underestimated what was possible.

Because of the efforts of those dedicated individuals, the fish and coral are coming back.

“It’s probably some of the most vibrant coral reefs we’ve seen in Jamaica since the 1970s.” - S. Sandin, marine biologist a Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Along with working as gardeners to restore the reef, fishermen in the area have also been working with hotel owners, and businesses, to form an association so that they can negotiate and enforce a no-fishing zone that would act as a fish sanctuary.

This is an idea that they've been crafting for years and some say that it's finally paying off, not only are there more tropical fish in the area now but they say they are allegedly seeing larger fish as well, noticeable and improved general health in the region for the coral reefs and sea life.

Though, not everyone agrees to following the fishing restrictions and there are violators.

It's alleged that the number of fish now in the sanctuary has doubled between 2011 and 2017, according to data from Jamaica's national environment and planning agency. They have the data to back up the claims that they are seeing success with the various efforts to try and turn the coral reefs around.

“We all depend on the ocean... If we don’t have a good healthy reef and a good healthy marine environment, we will lose too much. Too much of the country relies on the sea.” - B. Morrow, White River Sanctuary

Those behind the effort are seeing that it's a reaffirmation that it is never too late for healing, seeing how nature can heal itself if given the chance.


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