A Deli­cious Solu­tion to Nutri­ent Pol­lu­tion on Reefs

Healthy Reef Initiative

HRI aim to imple­ment a nature-based solu­tion to the excess nutri­ent pol­lu­tion prob­lem, which sup­ports ocean health and coastal liveli­hoods, by increas­ing the num­ber of juve­nile Caribbean King Crab, and demon­strat­ing their effec­tive­ness in graz­ing down prob­lem­at­ic macroal­gae — there­by facil­i­tat­ing the growth of corals in this restored reef. Coral reefs are par­tic­u­lar­ly sen­si­tive to excess nutri­ents, which shift the eco­log­i­cal bal­ance away from reef-build­ing corals in favour of nui­sance macroal­gae. Com­bat­ting the sources of nutri­ent pol­lu­tion requires large scale changes in agri­cul­ture, live­stock, and land-man­age­ment prac­tices and/​or expen­sive upgrades to coastal sewage treat­ment facil­i­ties. These long-term efforts are essen­tial, but can also be more quick­ly assist­ed by increas­ing the pop­u­la­tions of key fish and inver­te­brates that eat macroal­gae and nat­u­ral­ly pre­vent their pro­lif­er­a­tion. The project will demon­strate that restor­ing the crit­i­cal eco­log­i­cal process of her­bivory, by reseed­ing nutri­ent­pol­lut­ed coral reefs with local­ly raised Caribbean King Crabs in the Mesoamer­i­can Reef, is tech­ni­cal­ly fea­si­ble, eco­nom­i­cal­ly viable, and mea­sur­ably improves the health of the reef.

For more information visit: https://www.healthyreefs.org