Doctors Cave Beach

Seascape Caribbean was contracted by the Doctors Beach in 2018 to enhance the snorkeling experience of it guests. We will provide 3000x in situ cultured corals, and develop a snorkeling and gardening programme for the beach in which guests can participate. The project spans over a three year period.

BACKGROUND

  • Doctors Cave’s corals were heavily impacted by disease through the 1980s, as was most of the Caribbean.

  • Doctors Cave is located in the heart of Montego Bay and is subject to many stressors including pollution, physical damage from guests and storms.

  • 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 St. James’s fisheries have been rendered relatively unproductive.

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.

  • Increase fish abundance and species diversity.

  • Develop an economically and socially self-sustaining snorkeling (garden) activity and attraction for the beach club, including also finding ROI and profit.

SOLUTIONS

  • Culture and replant 3000 corals back to the reef garden area.

  • Train, equip and employ three to five local fishers into Reef-Gardener maintenance roles.

  • Re-train lifeguards to provide interpretive guided snorkeling tours of the reef garden.