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A Complete Guide to Secret Bay’s New Coral Restoration Experience

With Dominica well on its way to becoming the first climate-resistant country in the world, banning single-use plastics and switching to green energy when possible, the island nation is likewise addressing climate change, both above and below sea level. Coral reefs, in the Caribbean and around the world, are being harmed by a multitude of factors: global warming, pollution, overfishing, coral harvesting and more. And here at Secret Bay, we’re working hard to promote healthy reefs — which is exactly why we’ve curated a new ethical guest experience: The Coral Restoration Project

This experience is the most hands-on way to learn, and ultimately educate others, on the effects of climate change and human impact on our planet’s coral ecosystem while exploring the Caribbean Sea from a new perspective. Below, read up on the project details, what precisely coral restoration is and what to expect from this virtuous vacation experience. 

Background on the Coral Restoration Project

Coral ecosystems play a critical role in food production and reduce erosion along the coastlines, supporting the local fishing economy by providing a habitat for fish where spawning and nursing occur. 

Like many islands around the Caribbean, the issue of climate change remains a dominant factor in the destruction of coral reefs. Corals in Dominica have been impaired due to bleaching brought on by deviations in conditions such as temperature, light or nutrients. This is also perpetuated by the frequency and severity of hurricanes. 

The Coral Restoration Project at Secret Bay — initiated by local scuba diver and fishmonger Ms. Donna Mitchell — is focused on the regeneration of impaired coral through the implementation of a coral nursery. Asexual and sexual live coral are harvested from reefs along the north coast and implanted onto strategically placed metal frames located five feet off the seabed, where their development is monitored and recorded. 

Successfully reproduced corals are then transplanted onto the reefs around the property to help them flourish. Data from the project is shared with key local and international organizations such as the Dominica Fisheries and PADI with the intention to learn more about coral restoration and to expand projects across the west coast of Dominica.

The Guest Experience

1. Meet your Coral Restoration Guide. 

2. Attend a quick class on the sand, where your guide will teach: a) what coral is and what its ecological benefits are, b) how climate change and human impact are affecting coral and marine life, and c) why coral restoration is important.

3. Venture out to the designated coral nursery site. Depending on the depth of the site, you may be snorkeling or scuba diving (you’ll know ahead of time which you’re signing up for). Examine the healthy and impaired coral in the area, and then transplant a new coral in the nursery.

4. Each coral planted through the project is tagged and documented for further data collection. Rehabilitated corals are then planted onto the reefs around the property to help them flourish. Your contribution helps provide data to Dominica Fisheries Division and PADI. You’ll be provided with an Electronic Birth Certificate, with the option to receive updates on a six-month basis if so desired.

The Coral Restoration Project is a contribution-based experience, with a minimum contribution of USD $30 per person. Snorkel or dive gear is provided by Secret Bay. Ask your villa host for more details upon arrival.

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