The world’s first land-based commercial coral farm, which supports more resilient reef restoration, was opened in Grand Bahama. Projects like these are essential for the restoration of healthy oceans, and the development of sustainable Blue Economies.
This project was spearheaded by Gator Halpern, Young Champion of the Earth for Latin America and the Caribbean and Co-Founder of Coral Vita.
Coral Vita uses cutting-edge technology which accelerated coral growth by 50 times. This technology allows for the restoration of reefs which would otherwise take decades. This process allows for more species diversity, essential for the support of different ecosystems, and strengthens the resilience of coral to threats including ocean temperatures and ocean acidification.
The farm will also be an education centre, teaching communities about the importance of reef restoration and protection, and tourist attraction.
“Unless countries around the world take serious and deliberate action, in less than a generation the reefs—which help feed the fish and conch that end up on our dining tables—could be gone,” said Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Peter Turnquest. “In the Bahamas, we’re doing what we can and must, to play our part.”
Gabriel Grimsditch, a marine and coastal ecosystems expert at UN Environment, added: “The future of the world’s coral reefs hangs in the balance, threatening over a million marine species and hundreds of millions of coastal people who rely on them for food, livelihoods and coastal protection. (…) We urgently need to address the main drivers of coral reef degradation, including greenhouse gas emissions, pollution and destructive fishing. At the same time, the coral reef community is making advances in the effectiveness and scalability of coral reef restoration, and this may be a necessary part of the equation if we want functioning coral reefs in the future.”
The farm will restore the island’s coral reefs through the cooperation of scientists, communities, coral farmers, businesses, investors and governments.
“Coral Vita’s opening signals the start of a new and exciting era in Grand Bahama’s evolution. This project not only opens up a new sector in The Bahamian economy but also starts the process to repair one for the Bahamas’ most precious resources—our coral reefs,” said Grand Bahama Port Authority Executive Director, Rupert Hayward. “The project has global significance and the rest of the world is watching what happens here in Grand Bahama and… [we] are extremely proud to partner with Coral Vita on this project.”