Saving Reefs in the Caribbean

Sponsored by the European Union, two institutions—the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Reef Education Training Initiative (CREATIve)—are joining forces to offer a US $715,000 fund to save the dying coral reefs in the Caribbean. They launched a three-year project on board the Atlantis submarine, which will boost the number of skilled, Caribbean professionals with applicable knowledge of coral biology and conservation methods.

CREATIve has already started training ten lecturers that will be based at the UWI campuses of Cave Hill (Barbados), Mona (Jamaica), and St. Augustine (Trinidad), as well as the University of Belize and The College of The Bahamas. The lecturers are currently sharing their specialties with one another. One of the short-term goals is to write the first university-level textbook that will address coral biology and management from a Caribbean perspective and develop a course on the subject. In September 2010, the first batch of approximately 75 students will be taking the first course, with a similar number being trained every year.

Project coordinator Dr. Judith Mendes of Jamaica, warned that if measures are not taken, all corals in the Caribbean might be dead in 40 years. First Consular of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Robert Baldwin, also said that climate change and the threat to the environment is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing this century.

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