Sea change in Jamaica's reefs

Lines of staghorn coral are being grown at a nursery inside the Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary as part of efforts to rescue Jamaica's coral reefs and fish population.

Divers tend to underwater nurseries as gardeners mind a flower bed - slowly and painstakingly plucking off snails and fireworms that feast on immature coral.

Once the corals have grown larger, they are collected and individually transplanted onto a reef.

After a series of disasters in the 1980s and 1990s, Jamaica lost 85 per cent of its reefs. In the past decade, more than a dozen grassroots-run coral nurseries and fish sanctuaries have sprung up to combat the decline.

As conservation efforts gained momentum, corals and tropical fish have slowly started reappearing in Jamaican waters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2019, with the headline 'Sea change in Jamaica's reefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe