In The Ozone

Simplicio Paragas

7/16/2018

They’re building a fish sanctuary ... one coral head at a time.

Since 2015, hosts at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort have advocated a coral propagation program that aims to restore the depleting reef surrounding Castaway Island. It’s a serious global concern among scientists and conservationists who have well documented that our coral reefs are suffering from natural and anthropogenic threats. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program, healthy coral reefs are some of the most valuable ecosystems on the planet, annually providing an estimated $375 billion in economic and environmental services, such as food, protection for coasts and tourism.

“Our guests support the building of our fish house and the transplanting of the coral from the racks,” explains Peter Hopgood, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort’s general manager. “This is done approximately twice a month or upon requests from our guests.”

With more than 60% of the world’s reefs under immediate threat, conservation is key to stem the damage—and possibly even reverse the trend. But to do so requires the efforts of science-based management, more education and prioritizing on-the-ground and in-the-water actions that address the top three threats to coral reef ecosystems.

“Climate change, land-based pollution and negative impact of over fishing are the main threats,” asserts Paolo Maurin, Ph.D, national education coordinator and fellowship manager for NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. “Some threats, like climate change, will go unabated, but we can do things locally that can increase the resiliency of our reefs.”

The team's efforts in Fiji are supported by Outrigger's global global conservation initiative, "OZONE" or The Outrigger Zone, aims to protect and grow coral reefs in oceans surrounding our resorts in the Hawaiian isles, Fiji, Guam, Thailand, Maldives and Mauritius. Currently, the area of reefs OZONE actively monitors and protects exceeds 100 football fields.

Today’s tourists are seeking genuine natural experiences, and they’re becoming more aware and discerning of false environmental advertising—or greenwashing. Additionally, healthy reefs and clean water are essential to maintaining Hawai‘i’s allure as a destination since 80 percent of Hawai‘i’s nearly eight million annual visitors engage in marine-related recreational activities during their stay.

OZONE is an action plan that charts a clear course for Outrigger to make a positive impact in helping to save and protect coral reefs and ultimately the wellness of waters around the world. 

In partnership with NOAA, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Waikīkī Aquarium, Underwater World in Guam, Reef Conservation in Mauritius, Mamanuca Environment Society and the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS), Outrigger Enterprises Group plans to transplant and grow a football field worth of coral at participating resorts. 

Your vacation can truly make a difference. Learn more about OZONE here.

 
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