This story was written in commemoration of World Wildlife Day 2023 by Glendon Glasgow, Information Officer of the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA).
With this year’s World Wildlife Day celebrations themed Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation, the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) is reflecting on its partnership with bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) as an example of how collaboration can yield significant results in protecting and conserving wildlife.
Recently, the IMA partnered with bpTT and other government, private sector and community-based organisations to build its capacity in rehabilitating coral reefs and seagrass beds which have faced unprecedented levels of degradation in the face of climate change and human activities like over-fishing and pollution.
When the water gets too warm, corals become stressed and start to bleach which leaves the coral more vulnerable to disease and die-off.
Overtime, coral bleaching leads to a decline in the population of fish and other sea creatures that call the reef home.
An important step towards promoting wildlife conservation and securing the well-being of marine ecosystems and their inhabitants, this partnership is also an effort in sustainability as coral reefs play a key role in maintaining the well-being of marine ecosystems.
In the long-term, the partnership intends to deliver long-term biodiversity conservation and restoration of these ecosystems by avoiding loss using a multi-pronged approach which include strengthening ocean stewardship, restoring Tobago’s marine biodiversity and building sustainable ocean resilience.
Coral reefs protect the ocean and a wide range of species given they provide a habitat, food, protection, and all the amenities marine species need.
Serving as a hub for the mating and feeding of species which are key life processes, reefs also provide a safe place for young fish to grow and mature.
Continued destruction of coral reefs can displace countless sea creatures and disrupt the delicate balance of ocean ecosystems.
But all is not lost and people can come together to protect coral reefs by reducing our carbon footprint, properly disposing of waste, and practising sustainable fishing.
Substantial conservation efforts and the creation of marine protected areas can also help to ensure that coral reefs continue to thrive and protect the ocean for generations to come.
We must come together to protect corals, so that future generations can continue to experience their wonders.
Join the IMA as it continues to restore degraded coral reefs and wetlands. Follow the institute on their social media platforms and download their SeaiTT App.