Aggressor Joins Turks & Caicos Reef Fund for Coral Conservation
Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is a volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organisations and agencies to help preserve and protect the environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The yacht's staff, TCRF volunteer divers and nine of the trip's scuba diving guests spent three days at sea surveying coral reefs and tending to 'coral ladders' – on which broken coral fragments are located in order to 'farm' the coral before it can be transplanted back into the reef.
During the course of the trip, the volunteers were trained in the identification of 14 different coral species and the diagnosis of the diseases that might be infecting them. Working together, the TCRF dive leaders, trip customers and Aggressor staff completed six critical Atlantic Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) surveys, as well as 40 roving diver surveys to document and quantify impacts from stony coral tissue loss disease on the reefs of the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI). Sixteen coral colonies were mapped for disease treatment and future monitoring as part of the process.
'This was an amazingly productive and fun trip that gave us the opportunity to complete a great deal of work in a very short period of time,' said TCRF project manager and trip leader, Alizee Zimmermann.
The team also set up a new nursery structure for corals in an existing coral nursery while being trained in necessary nursery maintenance. Aggressor Adventures adopted one of the coral ladder nurseries, complete with six rungs of fast-growing, endangered staghorn coral fragments that were catalogued, re-tagged, and hung by both volunteers and staff working together.
This vital conservation work was, in part, made possible by Aggressor Adventures providing a discounted charter for local divers. 'As a company with a focus on sustainability, we are pleased to partner with the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund and help support the import conservation work they do locally to protect their beautiful coral reefs that we all love to dive,' said Wayne B Brown, CEO of Aggressor Adventures.
'The work we do benefits all watersports operators as well as all the residents of the TCI,' said Don Stark, Chairman of the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund. 'We are extremely grateful to Aggressor Adventures for the support they have given TCRF over the past 10 years which has allowed us to continue our important work.'
TCRF's goal is to ensure that at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands is donated to the Fund's conservation programs. To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation, visit www.TCReef.org.