Roatan Marine Park (RMP) has protected the reefs and surrounding ecosystems of one of the Bay Islands National Marine Park’s three islands off the coast of Honduras and Belize since 2005. After recently completing its newest coral nursery, the park has announced it will begin offering an RMP Coral Restoration Certification course for divers interested in helping the park maintain the nursery and outplant nursery-raised corals.
According to Gaby Ochoa, RMP’s program manager, the course takes one day and has theoretical and practical portions. You must be a certified open water diver to complete the course, but once you do, you can attend the coral nursery with one of the multiple local dive shops to clean algae from the 20 coral nursery trees. Volunteers will also monitor the health of the fragments and outplant fragments onto the reef.
“These fragments of endangered elkhorn and staghorn coral will have a higher survival rate and overtime help restore populations of these endangered species,” said Ochoa.
This is a big opportunity for divers who want to take on a more hands-on role in protecting these vital ecosystems. This is also beneficial for the park which will be able to better protect these species with help from dedicated volunteers.
The newly completed coral nursery is currently growing 18 genotypes of Elkhorn (Acropora palmitate) and Staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) corals at the Seaquest Deep dive site. Divers who are interested in getting involved with the project should contact RMP at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of the dive shops participating in the initiative: Sun Divers Roatan, Roatan Divers, Coconut Tree Divers & Go Pro Caribbean, and Ecodivers Roatan.