|Mangrove restoration, lobster studies get approval|
|Thursday, 28 January 2010 00:00|
Scientific research permits for mangrove restoration and lobster aquaculture studies gained approval from the Governor’s Advisory Council last week.
A new one-year permit was granted to PARDEE Ltd. and the Caribbean Wildlife Foundation for a conservation initiative to restore impacted areas and to reduce climate change by planting mangroves.
Local coastal marine habitats featuring mangroves have been degraded by clearing for development, pollution, sedimentation and excess nutrients, all decreasing fisheries and increasing the effects of climate changes, explains Marsha Pardee, the marine ecologist and long-time Provo resident heading the project. She says planting mangroves provides many solutions in this era of environmental challenges.
Mangroves help stabilize shorelines by consolidating sediments and forming peat, and protecting against storm surge, waves and wakes. They provide an important link between seagrasses and coral reefs through chemical, biological, physical and migratory activities, she said.
Mangrove forests serve as nursery grounds for juvenile marine species and provide wildlife habitat for terrestrial species. They produce leaves that decompose and become part of the food chain, as well as trapping sediments and nutrients, and filtering pollutants.
The research includes an Adopt a Mangrove Climate Change and Restoration Campaign where people can buy mangroves that will be planted to help local and regional climate change initiatives through mangrove cultivation and restoration.
“At present, mangrove seedlings are being grown in preparation for the campaign launch that will take place in late spring,” Pardee said. “As a community based effort, the initial mangrove adoptions hope to aid the stabilization and beautification of the spoil pile better known as ‘Star Island’ that was dumped off Mangrove Cay Nature Reserve near Leeward Channel.
“The program is also an education campaign to bring awareness to the many benefits of the mangrove ecosystems and how they can aid in climate change stabilization,” she said. “Shoreline property owners in suitable areas will also have the opportunity to landscape their intertidal zones for their own personal property protection.”
Pardee said to look for Adopt a Mangrove flyers and posters in the spring, or visit her web site www.merangel.net/mangroves for more information.
In a separate project, a five-year extension was granted to Darden Aquafarm Inc. to determine the aquaculture nursery and grow out potential of seed Caribbean spiny lobsters in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“We completed our 18-month research permit on South Caicos in December with very successful results,” said Bill Herzig, president of Darden Aquafarm. “What we learned there convinced us that we needed to duplicate the research in other parts of the world to confirm the learnings from the data gathered.”
Darden recently closed down its operation on South but is interested in resuming work there if possible.
“Since we still have a lot to learn and had such success in South Caicos, we decided to request an extension to our research permit to allow us to return and resume research at a later point,” Herzig said. “We discussed this with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources, who advised us on how to formally request an extension. The five year research permit is the result of this request.”
“We are very excited about having an open door in TCI to come back and apply what we learned in this stage of the research and appreciate all of the support and partnership we have been given by the government, DECR and the locals on South Caicos.”
Darden Aquafarm’s parent company is Darden Restaurants, the largest full-service dining restaurant company in the world. It owns and operates more than 1,700 restaurants including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 May 2010 12:39|
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