Our commitment to restoring the BVI’s mangrove forests

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Our commitment to restoring the BVI’s mangrove forests

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When Hurricane Irma hit the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in 2017, the island was left in a disastrous state of disrepair. While many buildings, businesses and homes have now been rebuilt and repaired, and life for many on the island has returned to normal, one thing that is yet to be restored to their former glory is the island’s natural mangrove forests.

Mangroves are an integral part of the BVI’s marine ecosystem. They are a critical nursery habitat for many marine species, and provide natural protection and shelter to coastal communities, which is why we have been and continue to be committed to restoring the island’s mangroves through our regeneration program.

Our commitment to restoring the BVI’s mangrove forests

The program was launched in late 2017, when we, in conjunction with local community and local school groups implemented a pilot mangrove planting scheme. The scheme involved testing to see if mangroves would grow faster when absorbing the natural nutrients from lobster waste, allowing us to utilise and absorb the waste produced at the farm to fertilise and grow mangroves seedlings faster than they could be grown in the wild.

The pilot was a success, and we then expanded the scheme in 2018 to produce over 350 plants annually!

Our commitment to restoring the BVI’s mangrove forests

Figure 1: CSF Employee, Sanel Septus, with the mangroves that he and the team has grown. These seedlings will ultimately go on to benefit the local marine environment in the BVI and could serve as a model for mangrove reforestation. 

Since then, things have progressed significantly and we now have a crop of one-year old mangrove juveniles that are ready for re-planting, many of which are well established and are already producing flowers. Our first test wild-planting of these robust seedlings has now been achieved, through Emily Abrehart (Exeter University) with 50 plants deployed in hurricane damaged areas of Nanny Cay. The aim is that this crop will take less time to produce seeds, allowing us to naturally repopulate the areas that are planted within the next year at a far quicker rate.

It is our intention to closely follow the progress of this first deployment of seedlings in order to continue to improve our replanting methodology, so that we are able to expand our program in the very near future.

General Manager of Caribbean Sustainable Fisheries, Stephen Bailey commented on the program: “Mangroves play such an important role in providing vital habitat and inshore nursery areas for marine species of the BVI and it’s truly devasting to see how many of them were destroyed due to Hurricane Irma. We hope that by acting on our commitment to restore the mangrove population of the BVI, that we can help to protect and preserve the island’s marine ecosystems for the future”.

Our regeneration program forms part of our sustainability vision, which goes hand-in-hand with the wider sustainability agenda of our parent company’s, the Cadman Capital Group’s, Aquaculture Division


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