St. Vincent and the Grenadines Conservation Fund (SVGCF) In collaboration with the Grenada Sustainable Development Trust Fund (GSDT) organized an Interisland Coral Restoration Knowledge Exchange Initiative on the type of methodologies currently being used in both countries. This event took place from 19-21 April 2023 on the island of Carriacou. The follow-up to this exchange will be to, collect data in the field on the different methodologies used in both islands, compare, analyze, and present the findings to a wider audience, particularly those who are involved in coral restoration.
Among the participants from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) were represented by SVGCF, Serenity Dive Inc., Dive Bequia Ltd., Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP), and Fisheries Services SVG. The participants from Grenada were represented by GSDTF, Fisheries Services Grenada, and Grenada Coral Reef Foundation (GCRF).
On April 20, 2023, Minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs and Local Government, Hon. Tevin Andrews, met with Ms. Jenifer James (CEO of GSDTF), Mr. Justin Rennie (Chief fisheries Officer), Mr. Vanburn Harry (CEO SVGCF) and Ms. Tanja Lieuw (Program Manager CBF). The meeting informed Minister Andrews of the collaborative efforts in fostering an Inter-Island Coral Restoration knowledge exchange initiative and exploring different methodologies used in the restoration of coral reefs.
On April 21, 2023, an exchange workshop was held where participants presented their experience with coral restoration efforts followed by an open discussion and exchange of ideas. A site visit and dive of one of the Biorock sites in Carriacou was also done. The presenters were, Mr. Vaughn Martin (Owner of Serenity Dive Inc), Ms. Catherine Sachs (owner of Dive Bequia Ltd), Mr. Keithron DeRoche (Park ranger TCMP), and Mr. Roland Baldeo (Executive Director of GCRF).
The SVG participants presented a traditional method of Coral Restoration using coral reproduced asexually by fragmentation, where fragments are collected from parent corals and placed on coral trees, spiders, and tables to grow in a nursery and then out-planted at various sites. The main species of coral used in this method are the Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals.
The participant from Grenada presented on the Biorock Technology, which is a mineral accretion technology that applies safe, low voltage electrical currents through seawater, causing dissolved minerals to crystallize on structures, growing into a white limestone similar to that which naturally makes up coral reefs and tropical white sand beaches. This technology incorporates a wide variety of coral species
The next step is to determine which method grows Corals more efficiently through scientific data collection and analysis. This will then be used to inform the way forward for future coral restoration efforts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.