The country, along with several international organizations, is currently sponsoring various programs to protect the coral reefs in important tourism regions. The programs include the set-up of nurseries for the production of corals and many educational activities are taking place to raise awareness in many beachfront communities on the need to protect the corals, a fundamental component to the country’s ecosystem.
There are currently eight coral nurseries set up, the largest one situated in Punta Cana, on the country’s eastern region, and operated by the Punta Cana Group, the country’s first tourism company to introduce environmentally sound programs through its Ecological Foundation.
The “Coral Nurseries Initiative” program – run and managed by the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation – was developed with the University of Miami, Counterpart International and the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB). The program’s main goal is to raise awareness regarding this issue and to promote the planting of coral along the Dominican coastline.
Through the initiative the Foundation has developed strong ties with other organizations and groups working with sustainable management and conservation of coral reef issues. The goal is to improve the livelihood of fishermen in the Punta Cana area, in the country’s easternmost region. The Foundation also organizes workshops on coral restoration. The latest workshop was on “Best Practices in Restoring the Staghorn Coral,” with Dr. Austin Bowden – Kerby – a pioneer in planting corals – as the guest speaker.
The Dominican Foundation for Marine Research’s Center for Coastal-Marine Studies currently operates two nurseries. One is situated seven meters deep and the other at twelve meters. It has successfully transplanted coral along the Bayahibe coastline, specifically off the waters of the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Hotel and other nearby areas.
The Tropigas Natural and the Reef Check foundations are carrying out important protection and coral planting projects in Las Galeras, in Samaná Province, on the country’s northeast region. The Acropora Palmata and the Acropora Cervicornis are the two coral species found in the nurseries operated by the foundations. Both species are on the endangered list.