Key West Snorkeling-Return of branching corals?
Good news for Key West Snorkeling
While on a great snorkel to Cottrell Key Trish got some really nice shots of branching corals on the rebound.
What a great trip! Started off with another boat face moment with young Aden and transitioned into wonderful educational experience with some really cool folks from Canada. Read further for some really good news about coral cultivation and preservation.
This particular trip was more than just a great time on the water. To our absolute joy, we were in the company of some real pros in the the hobby of live coral cultivation and preservation. Trina and Patrick own Reefwholesale.com and booked Namaste’ Sailing specifically to view soft corals in their natural habitat. Needless to say we were humbled.
Baby Staghorn Coral
As we quizzed our guests on the business of coral cultivation we were astounded to learn what the rest of the world does for their coral reefs. Coral cultivation is a viable and very profitable business in many of the Pacific Rim countries. Apparently, both Trina and Patrick travel all over just to research the ethical wholesaling of both hard and soft corals.
These corals are grown in isolation, away from native corals, and as a result the amount of illegal coral harvests has diminished considerably. Many of these countries have strict enforcement for their coral preservation laws. If you’re caught illegally harvesting or even accidentally damaging corals in these places you’re looking at a mandatory jail sentence with a stiff fine. No kidding! Stepping on coral can land you in jail. As a result, coral is allowed to flourish and gain some advantage to the environmental impact of global warming. As we learned more from our guests, it dawned on me just how much is being done on a global scale.
On the home front there is some good news coming out of Mote Marine on Summerland Key. Our good friend Jason Wolf turned us on to some really cool branching coral propagation studies currently under way in the Florida Keys. The science is solid and Mote is getting some astounding growth rates out of both Staghorn and Elkhorn. Check out the link and see for yourself: Mote Coral Aquaculture
Thank you to our very special guests for sharing some of the good news with coral presevation. Perhaps if we follow the model provided by Mote Marine as well other forward thinking organzations, these little branching corals can someday grow to the size and density I saw as a kid just learning about the wonder of Key West snorkeling.