Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush were both on hand last week as the Central Caribbean Marine Institute launched a new coral reef conservancy at Macaulay Honors College in Manhattan, New York.
A global initiative, slated to begin this summer, the Coral Reef Conservancy is focused on preserving and rejuvenating the world’s coral reefs through education, research and action.
Dr. Carrie Manfrino, president of the CCMI, sounded a clarion call on behalf of this precious global resource.
‘Sixty-percent of coral reefs on earth are dead or in decline.’ Ms Manfrino said. ‘Yet the many environmental, economic and health benefits these reefs provide are essential to mankind’s survival.’
She said coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse environments on earth, second only to rainforests.
‘If we act now, we can recover and conserve the world’s reefs, and continue to pursue invaluable scientific research while preserving economies, food supplies and our vast, vital world oceans.’
By raising public consciousness through a message of hope, the conservancy will increase interest in reef recovery and eventually help implement proven solutions for reef recovery around the globe.
‘I am delighted to continue my support for Dr. Manfrino’s efforts and I am very appreciative of CCMI’s accomplishments over the past five years,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘We are proud to have Cayman once again serve as a global leader in marine preservation and conservation.
‘We have always understood the value of preserving our coral reefs, considering how our lives, culture, heritage and now tourism are inextricably linked to the sea.
‘My government will continue to support a dynamic balance of sustainable development,’ he said.
Over the next three years, the conservancy will develop a network of demonstration sites with global partners to engage stakeholders in actions that will regenerate and build resiliency into coral reefs.
The conservancy will work to raise public awareness, while at the same time coordinating workshops from which international scientists, reef managers and stakeholders can communicate their efforts globally.
Founded in 1998, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) is guided by its mission to conduct and facilitate research, education, conservation and outreach that will sustain marine diversity for future generations.
From its inception, CCMI has proven a valuable asset in the effort to understand changing coral reef and tropical marine environments. CCMI programs provide a solid foundation for education and awareness for students and researchers both in the Caribbean and around the world.