>POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation announced this week that St. Maarten is part of the “Plant a Million Coral” campaign that will see one million corals planted throughout the Caribbean Basin by 2025.
The Nature Foundation said this week that they have installed at three sites intelligent reefs powered by nature in a continuing effort to restore marine bio-diversity habitats that were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“As the Nature Foundation pointed out this week, our country has lost 80 per cent of its coral due to the impacts of the 2017 hurricanes as well as bleaching and disease.
“I very much welcome the regional initiative of ‘Plant a Million Coral,’ by 2025. Our coral reefs are part of the national economy, and we must do all we can to replenish the coral life around the coastal areas of our country.
“The dive sector contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of the country on an annual basis. Our visitors whether via a one-day cruise to the destination or stay-over, come to enjoy our natural environment, our beaches, below and above the water.
“Every effort must be made to restore our coral resources, and I commend the Nature Foundation for their dedicated work in having our marine life restored,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Wednesday.
The Nature Foundation disclosed this week in a statement that IntelliReefs, developed by the Reef Life Restoration, were deployed at three sites last week: The Bridge, the Manowar Shoal Marine Protected Area and just off the landing of the Pelican Peak Zipline in Point Blanche, currently under construction by Sea to Sky Ventures.
“Along with Dr David Vaughan and Reef Life Restoration, Plant a Million Coral has significant support from Sea to Sky Ventures, the Pelican Peak developers, as well as international support from SeaLegacy, an ocean conservation organisation founded by National Geographic Photographers Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen.
“SeaLegacy is a distinguished group of world-renowned photographers and filmmakers with a combined audience of more than 6.3 million people,” the Nature Foundation statement said.