The Round Hill Reef Gardens

Seascape Caribbean was contracted by the Round Hill Resort & Spa in 2016 to develop and implement a snorkeling garden off the resort's house-reef. We provided 5000x in situ cultured corals, 3x reef gardener technicians com snorkeling guides and access controls under the Beach Control Act as a de facto fish sanctuary. The project spans over a three year period.

PROJECT GOALS

  • Plant an abundance of golden branching corals to the reef garden area; change in reefscape colour from algal green to coral gold in five years.
  • Initiate conversations around fish and reef stewardship within the local (fishing) communities.
  • Increase fish abundance and species diversity
  • Develop an economically and socially self-sustaining snorkeling (garden) activity and attraction for the resort, including also finding ROI and profit.

CLIENT CHALLENGES

  • The Round Hill Bluff's corals were heavily impacted by disease through the 1980s, as was most of the Caribbean.
  • Round Hill Resort is surrounded by fishing communities and the local reefs are heavily fished by spear, net and fish trap. Fish of any species larger than one’s hand are uncommon.
  • Ecosystem is out of balance and coral diseases persist, often facilitated by corallivorous fish and elevated summer temperatures. Corallivorous snails and worms are also common.
  • Snorkelers without guidance and/or training often come into contact with delicate corals. Sunscreens and skin creams exacerbate these impacts, causing further stress and mortality.
  • Current reef system is dominated by microalgae, representing a stable-state disallowing a return of coral. Reefscapes are the green-brown of algae rather than the bright golds and greens of healthy coral.
  • Algae is a poorer fish or lobster nursery habitat than coral, thus Hanover's fisheries have been rendered relatively unproductive.

SOLUTIONS

  • Develop the Govt. supported legal framework to control and manage fishing within the reef garden
  • Culture and replant 5000 corals back to the reef garden area
  • Train, equip and employ three to five local fishers into reef maintenance "gardener" roles.
  • Re-train the established reef gardeners to provide interpretive guided snorkeling tours of the reef garden.