Cayman Coral Nursery Program

Coral Nursery Program

Grand Cayman Eco Divers started our conservation program in 2016.  Since then, our coral nurseries and outplant sites have had every opportunity to be a great success.  Grand Cayman Eco Divers was founded with the ideals of giving back to the community and to helping protect and nurture our precious remaining coral reefs.  This means the only thing missing is you!

Our coral nurseries are under the direct supervision of the Department of Environment and act under the Cayman Island laws regarding safe and sustainable practices for their amazing Marine Parks.  We are always interested in taking a few extra minutes to talk with guests about how this exactly works, but here are a few general guidelines.

  1.  Touching any coral living or dead is limited to licensed and trained handlers operating under authority of the DOE only.  The first and worst way anyone could hinder this program would be to collect corals without training or permission.
  2. As trained and licensed handlers, we must also be mindful of how we train so that all guests and staff around the island are equally knowledgeable about their roles.
  3. Proper notation of activities underwater is critical during these first few months and years.  The appearance of capable and skilled activities will help instill confidence in this programs abilities.
  4. Transplanted corals need to be planned out in advance and are done with the intent to maximize the chances for spawning to occur naturally in the following years.  Spawned corals represent the real long term success of our reefs.
  5. Follow up studies need to be conducted on parent colonies, coral trees and planted corals to ensure that our activities are improving the reef and are providing measurable survival and growth over the following years.
  6. Tell your friends about this!  We need people just like you to help take part in this and to show an interest in this form of education.  Without the support of the diving community, the burden of replanting the reef falls onto a very few individuals.

Join Grand Cayman Eco Divers as we lead the way in coral restoration.

Resident programs  Join the Eco DIvers team as we work tirelessly to grow, manage, plan and act on our coral restoration program.   Take our Coral Restoration Distinctive Specialty course and become a long term volunteer!  One day of training can change your entire life!  Class sessions focus on history of Coral threats, policies and progress towards long term sustainability.  Two dives complete your certification and then you are able to join us as a fully trained volunteer!  Our Certification course is a PADI distinctive specialty and is available every Sunday or upon demand.

13177575_535728273278721_1273607107526613743_nStudent programs.  Come to Grand Cayman and earn credit for college while you learn about diving and our coral reefs.  Special introductory program are in place for students interested in attending St. Matthews college here in Grand Cayman.  Student housing, equipment and activities carefully planned for all our student guests.

Dive vacation programs.  Anyone can join us and learn about our reefs.  Specialized training prepares you for a great experience underwater and you are able to help manage the coral nurseries we have placed around the island.  Weekly planting sessions allow guests to help replant living coral onto our nearby reefs.

Coral Nursery Study Abroad Program 2018-2019

Grand Cayman Eco Divers has partnered with The Cayman Islands Department of Environment and other local dive operations to bring coral restoration to the Cayman Islands.  Our team has worked closely with Seas of Change, The Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Coral Restoration Foundation to develop a thoughtful and detailed process to collect, develop, and replant our local reefs.

Coral reef degradation is a common issue around the world that often has multiple and nuanced causes.  Global warming, ocean acidification, wastewater runoff and human interaction can all contribute directly to large scale loss of stony coral growth and long term reef reduction.   Coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea have suffered especially noticeable losses and the limited biodiversity of species has made natural methods of recovery slow and ineffective in many situations

Grand Cayman Eco Divers is contacting Universities and Colleges around the world to invite their staff and students to help become a part of the solution.  Our coral nurseries and outplant sites mixed with a direct and hands on approach to reinvigorating our local reefs.  Our students learn about coral reef custodianship while studying in one of the safest and well managed countries in the world.

We now have three coral nursery sites with over 600 mature coral colonies that can be outplanted as well as six dedicated outplant locations to monitor.  Our program is maintaining over a 90% survival rate of transplanted corals and we have already filmed our program corals spawning.  Additionally, our program appears to have also spawned in the nursery environment, creating a 500 meter cone of intense coral settlement in areas that had not seen any volume of coral in over a decade.  These factors combine to create a formula for coral management success.  The only missing element is you!

 

Program details.

Enrollment:

Our nursery program is available to students and visitors interested in restoring the amazing coral reefs around Grand Cayman. We operate our student programs year round and will work around the schedule requests for each group.  Please check our website and Facebook for current events and activities.  Your group representative may email us directly at dive@caymanecodivers.com with any questions.

While you are here:

SCUBA diving will play an important role in our activities here in Grand Cayman.  No previous experience is required  and all our students will enjoy a complete dive training program while they are here.   We advise to bring clothes for tropical weather, (shorts, t-shirts and sandals) and also to expect random weather patterns.  A light rain jacket or pullover sweatshirt is advised.  All classroom material will be provided for each student while they are here.

What to expect:

Our program will focus heavily on frequent SCUBA diving with morning classes to prepare students for their dives.  Students will have a chance to reflect on the days activities and discuss upcoming events on our patio overlooking the ocean.   Sunscreen and protective clothing is advised as we will be outdoors for much of the day.

College credits for students:

PADI (the Professional Association of Dive Instructors) is certified as an ACE accredited program that includes many of their SCUBA training programs.  Please speak with your school administrator and department heads to make sure that these courses can apply toward your transcripts.  Please go to https://www.padi.com/padi-courses/earn-college-credit-padi-courses for more information.