proposes solution to reef problems
Web Posted - Wed Nov 27
A LOCAL marine organisation has got the
“balls” to do something about Barbados’ either dead or
dying coral reef, and is hoping that Government will
back an idea with the potential to save essential
resources needed by this country’s tourism and fishing
The deployment of reef balls, hollow concrete
structures resembling “igloos with holes”, is the
solution being proposed by the Barbados Marine Trust, a
non-government organisation formed just over two years
ago by a group of Barbadian citizens concerned about the
state of the local marine environment.
Outlining the reef ball plan to media representatives
at a Press conference held yesterday on the South Coast,
secretary treasurer of the Barbados Marine Trust, James
Blades, said they were confident in the balls’ proven
ability to rehabilitate coral reefs and their fish
He said following support from the Government’s
Coastal Zone Management Unit, it was now up to the Town
Planning Department to go into the water to initiate a
pilot project, deploying 200 balls on the South Coast
somewhere between Asta Beach Resort, and the Coconut
Court Hotel, where Blades is the Chief Executive
Lauding the Coastal Zone Management Unit for its
assistance, the marine activist called specifically on
Government to work closely with all types of NGO’s in
achieving solutions to various problems.
“I really want Government to understand that we need
to work together. I think they need to pay more
attention to the NGOs in this country, because NGOs work
faster,” he stated, noting that much could be
accomplished in this way.
“These things (reef balls) are going to go
widespread, and we hope people will call. For example,
the NCC’s Folkestone Marine Reserve, they have already
approached us and they would like to have a deployment
in Folkestone and the mere fact that the NCC would like
to see a deployment in Folkestone gives me great
inspiration,” Blades said.
The hotelier and concerned marine activist described
the reef ball as an artificial reef rehabilitative
technique fabricated in a fiberglass mould, which had
three or four parts bolted together depending on the
size. To build the hollow concrete ball, a buoy is
placed in the centre of the mould, and concrete poured
around the buoy, after which the buoy is deflated.
“The concrete has an additive to make it soft for
corals to attach to, and we are doing everything we can
to encourage as much coral growth as quickly as
possible. Because the balls are hollow, it creates a
good house for fish, and we will place them in strategic
areas,” Blades noted.
Getting the pilot project under way has so far cost
the Marine Trust $40 000, inclusive of the moulds,
micro-silica and other ingredients to make 200 balls in
three differing sizes. That money was raised with
contributions of $10 000 each from the Asta Beach
Resort, Coconut Court Beach Resort, Peter Allard of the
Graeme Hall Reserve Bird Sanctuary and Charlie Blades.
The idea has also attracted the attention of
fisherfolk in the Oistins area, who are getting on board
with a project of their own.
“They are looking at taking an area up in Oistins and
managing it. That project is being undertaken by the
Oistins Fisherfolk Association, and they would like to
use reef balls. So it is very important that I get the
project into the water and let the project start to
work, because the results of the project are going to
determine whether or not we can get reef balls in those
areas,” Blades stated.
He added that the Marine Trust was encouraging any
hotel properties interested in improving the quality of
the reefs in their vicinity to also get on board.
“Everything is going on out there and nobody is doing
anything to stop it, we’ve got to start taking areas and
managing them,” Blades stated.