Relocating corals under Bonaire’s Salt Pier.
Salt Pier’s temporary closing.
Late in March, the Bonaire Insider informed its readers of the then-impending closure of Bonaire’s Salt Pier dive site for a temporary period while Cargill made renovations to the pier.
Last week, STINAPA and a group of assistants dove tirelessly under Bonaire’s Salt Pier in an effort to mitigate potential damage to the corals in that location.
Old anchor chains were scheduled for removal, but were encrusted with live corals.
As part of the renovations for the major pier repairs, two huge 40-year-old anchor chains, both encrusted with living corals, were to be removed. Cargill requested STINAPA’s advice as to how to minimize damage, and they agreed to leave most of the old chains in place, but instead lay the new chains next to them. In order to clear a path for the new chains, live corals and sponges had to be relocated to a safe area nearby.
Corals and sponges were relocated to nearby areas or to coral nurseries.
With the expertise of Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire and the help of number of volunteers, the STINAPA Junior Rangers, and many private sector divers, STINAPA proceeded to relocate a large number of hard corals, soft corals, and sponges, which would otherwise have faced certain death. The live corals were moved by hand while on SCUBA to nearby safe zones. For moving the larger colonies, the marine park rangers used lift bags.
A few of the corals were transported by boat to coral restoration sites at Buddy Dive and Harbour Village. In the coming months STINAPA will be monitoring the survival rate of the corals and sponges that were relocated.
Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing on The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.