Second phase of coral restoration set for Barbuda

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

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Coral restoration organisation, OceanShot, has announced the next phase of its reef restoration project on an underwater panel shared with PADI at the recent Global Citizen Forum.

OceanShot co-founders, climate scientist Dr Deborah Brosnan and billionaire philanthropist John Paul DeJoria, joined PADI CEO and President, Dr Drew Richardson; the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Gaston Browne; and the Global Citizen Forum founder Armand Arton, for the panel.

The discussion centred around the need for cross-sector collaboration across tech, government, science, and entrepreneurs; and announced OceanShot’s next coral reef deployment, plus plans to break ground on the new OceanShot Lab in Antigua.

OceanShot – designed to promote the concept of restoring reef ecosystems and the many habitats and services that they provide – was launched by Dr Brosnan and Mr DeJoria in 2022, with the pair creating partnerships with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, PADI and the Global Citizens Forum in the process.

Over the course of the next year, the project expanded to include 16 coral nursery trees growing over 3,000 fragments from nine coral species, ready for outplanting into the first batch of OceanShot’s pH-neutral reef modules, deployed off the coast of Barbuda in October 2022.

Cameras deployed on the ocean floor have subsequently shown that 36 species of fish have moved into the newly created habitats, along with many key invertebrates such as lobsters and octopus.

‘Talking about the importance of our oceans, in the ocean, is unique, and it brings home our powerful connection to the sea,’ said Dr Brosnan. ‘It’s quite simple: no oceans, no us is a fact.

‘The sea provides 50 per cent of the planet’s oxygen and has absorbed 90 per cent of the excess heat from climate change. If we protect nature, she protects us – and our reefs show that so well.’

The new OceanShot Living Lab announced during the underwater forum is being constructed on Antigua and Barbuda, ready to test new technologies for reefs and marine life and help create solutions for other island nations to deploy. The second of OceanShot’s tailor-made coral modules is scheduled to be deployed in 2024 and – as with the first – will engage local communities, coral reef biologists, and coastal engineers to assist with the design

‘With 8 billion people on the industrialised planet now, the future of the world’s ocean has never been more dependent on our decisions and actions to prioritise ocean life support – as humanity and ocean are both vulnerable and both codependent,’ said Dr Richardson.

‘By partnering with leaders from OceanShot, Global Citizen Forum and Antigua & Barbuda, we are committing to inspiring more innovative and positive solutions for the health of coral reefs, the ocean and our joint futures on this shared blue planet.’

OceanShot aims to design solutions that are transferable, scalable, and deployed to other nations, and already the project is expanding further into Antigua and the United States.

‘We are not only working to restore corals, but to create a fully functioning reef ecosystem that has the ability to mitigate climate change, sea level rise, storm surge and keep sand on the beaches,’ said Dr Brosnan.

‘OceanShot can now be deployed globally, to help governments prioritise ocean resilience and blue economy industries like fishing and tourism, as well as restore biodiversity.’

‘The ocean belongs to all of us, and together we’ve got to do right by it,’ said Mr DeJoria. ‘We have the opportunity now to show the world that real solutions exist – and we’re thrilled to be entering the next phase of OceanShot to continue restoring healthy coral reefs.’

More information about Dr Brosnan’s reef restoration programme can be found on the OceanShot home page.