Sunday, November 18, 2012

Small Hope, the Nature Conservancy and Lionfish!

This week at Small Hope we got to be involved in two different environmental efforts, one addressing the growth and health of our reef, and one focused on controlling the lionfish population that threatens the marine life here in the Bahamas and other Caribbean areas.

At Small Hope, we take the protection of the environment very seriously. We have enacted several ecological programs around the lodge for this reason. From our recycling program to the water saving procedures to our reverse osmosis water treatment, Small Hope has continued to develop plans and programs that help to safeguard the beautiful and unique environment of Andros Island, Bahamas.

Andros is home to the Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest barrier reef in the world. The reef is full of hard and soft corals, sponges and a variety of sea life. The reef itself is in good condition, but due to various global conditions and effects there is more algae on the reef in recent years. 

ANCAT (Andros Conservancy and Trust), which was formed with Small Hope Bay Lodge and of which Jeff Birch is secretary has developed a new coral farming program and this week Small Hope got to be a part of their efforts. Felicity, of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos branch of the Nature Conservancy led the group which also included Kemit-Amon Lewis, the Coral Conservation Manager from the US branch, Stopher Slade of the St. Croix branch and Eric Buck of the St. Thomas branch. The group came to Andros with the goal of setting up Coral Nurseries. They set up 5 blocks of new-growth coral, each featuring three different types of coral in each block.  These Coral Nurseries will grow the coral and can be used for future coral transplanting to any damaged areas of the reef!

We were also lucky enough to host Indira and Nichola, who came to Andros as representatives of  the Bahamas Department of Agriculture to work on their study of lionfish. Lionfish are a venomous fish native to Indo-Pacific waters and considered an invasive species in the Bahamas as well as the rest of the Caribbean. The beautiful striped fish are known to have a voracious appetite, an indiscriminate palate (devouring many different species) and reproduce at a high rate. Many organizations and governments have started to take a more active role in the control of the spread of lionfish population.

Indira and Nichola came as part of a study evaluating the changes in populations of lionfish in various areas - places where they were being actively hunted, as well as control groups - and to report on their findings. 

The spiny fish are often killed with spear guns by scuba divers and are considered quite tasty. Our own chef, Don Goodman made up some tasty lionfish fritters from a catch brought in by a few of Small Hope's guests . . . 

 . . . Delicious! Pin It Now!

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