News / Company News / Reefhab and the Coral Restoration Foundation (05/04/12)

Reefhab and the Coral Restoration Foundation

The Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) is a nonprofit group dedicated to rehabilitating reefs in the Florida Keys and around the world. Reefhab is Quality Marines coral reef conservation, restoration, and poverty alleviation initiative which supports new and developing aquaculture efforts. The two organizations crossed paths recently when Quality Marine donated both funds and man hours to CRF for the outplanting of native corals to Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Ken Nedimyer started CRF after some Acropora cervicornis settled and started growing on live rock he was farming in south Florida waters. Ken had seen over the years how the reefs around Florida had declined in coral diversity and knew he wanted to do something about it. The logical step was to begin farming these native corals. Obtaining the brood-stock was the first crucial step, after that he obtained the necessary permits and sufficient grant money to be able to grow these little corals out faster and in larger quantities. Once enough brood-stock was obtained, he started to take cuttings of these and used them to replant the reefs in places where they had previously dominated, but were all but gone.

Via the Reefhab initiative, Quality Marine donates a percentage of proceeds from all sales of Aquacultured and Maricultured livestock, including the Quality Marine aquacultured Reefhab corals, to projects like this. In late 2011, Reefhab funds were donated to CRF in sponsorship of a full restoration effort on Molasses Reef, at Mooring Ball 11. In March of this year, during an optimal weather window, Quality Marine sent two employees down to the middle keys to help out for two days. Our employees spent the first full day in the nursery, driving anchors for new coral trees and trussing up new frags for grow-out. On the second day they helped to replant Molasses reef. By the end of that day, 60 Acropora colonies from 3 separate genotypes (K1, K2, K3) had been planted. The CRF guys will have to do some maintenance there by going back in the first 30-45 days to remove any possible predatory snails (Coralliophila abbreviata) and re-attach any broken branches or corals that were not fully attached due to surge displacement during the out-planting. They will have to do the same again at around the 90 day mark. After that however, they have found that the corals have typically grown to the point where they can fend for themselves and out-compete the predacious snails. Within two years, we expect the reef to be alive once again with large thickets of the endangered Acropora.

While this sounds easy, its definitely not, and is actually rather hard work. After two days of exhausting work, Quality Marines staff returned with a sense of true accomplishment and tremendous appreciation for the work that the Coral Restoration Foundation is doing. Collectively here at Quality Marine, we are extremely proud to be a part of this effort. Please join us in giving CRF all the time, credit and resources you can. There is very little you can do underwater, or anywhere for that matter, that feels better than replanting a reef for future generations to love and enjoy.