balls placed in Great
Bay, coral transplant soon
PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten is a step closer to
having its own manmade reef with the placing of 150
reef balls made by the Nature Foundation 1.5 miles
northwest of Great Bay.
The next step is to properly position the reef
balls and to transplant coral from Proselyte Reef to
the artificial reef soon. It is hoped that there
will be a blooming manmade reef in approximately
five years. A similar project was successfully
carried out in Curacao a few years ago.
The reef balls, made of special cement, were
placed next to the island's most popular dive site:
a sunken barge named Carib Cargo which sank to its
watery grave during Hurricane Luis in 1995.
The foundation with the help of divers will
properly place the reef balls within the next two
weeks in anticipation of the coral transplant, to
also be carried out with the help of volunteers,
Assistant Marine Park Manager Paul Ellinger told The
The manmade reef was funded by the Hurricane
Lenny Recovery Fund allocated by the Dutch
Government for the specific purpose of carrying out
The project took approximately six months to
reach its present stage. Guidance on executing the
project and making the reef balls was provided by
Reef Ball Development Group Limited and Foundation
The manmade reef will enhance the island's marine
and diving environments while easing the stress on
the island's "almost over-utilized" coral reef, a
popular vacation stop for many tourists.
Ellinger thanked Ray of Bobby's Marina for
providing his barge and forklift to aid in the
loading and transporting of the reef balls, Robbie
Laurence and Michel Deher for their support to make
the project a success.
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