$27k raised for damaged reef project

| 02/03/2015 | 1 Comment
Cayman News Service

T-shirts for sale in aid of the Magic Reef Restoration Project

(CNS): Organisers of a fundraiser for the Magic Reef project said they pulled in almost three times their target on Friday night to help in the fight to save the critical marine habitat damaged by a cruise ship anchor last August. Keith Sahm from Sunset House and Sunset Divers said that aside from raising over $27,000, the party at the Royal Watler also raised awareness about the battle to repair the reef. Exceeding the $10,000 target by over $17,000, Sahm said he was “gobsmacked” by how well the evening went. More than 500 people, including tourists, divers and many locals, went along and consumed over 900 lionfish, which were cooked up by volunteers.

Sahm said the money would go a long way to help in the Magic Reef Restoration Project but he was equally delighted with how many more people have signed up to support the ongoing efforts to address the devastating damaged caused by the Carnival Magic when it anchored in the wrong spot.

More than 11,000 sq ft of reef was crushed in August and for the last seven months the repair work has been conducted by volunteers in conjunction with the Department of the Environment and the dive operators, who have been helping with boats and tanks.

DoE Director Gina Petrie-Ebanks, one of a number of people from the department who attended the fundraiser, expressed her enormous gratitude to the people who were doing what they could to help but she said there was no avoiding the devastation.

“The reef will take decades and decades to recover but the effort of the volunteers will knock decades off,” she said. “They are certainly whittling down the recovery period by the work already done to stabilize the reef and put it in the best possible position for recovery. They are helping enormously to mitigate what is a really bad situation.”

Pointing to the fragile state of reefs the world over, Ebanks-Petrie said they are under threat from numerous impacts. “Given the threats from climate change, disease and development, to see a reef damaged by such an avoidable mistake is devastating. We need to raise awareness to ensure that this never happens again,” she added. “It is crucial that all precautions are taken to protect the reefs.”

The environment minister, who was at the event, also pointed to the incredible job that volunteers were doing and he noted that the attendance at the fundraiser on Friday was a testament to how many people really do care about Cayman’s incredible and valuable environment.

“I am overwhelmed by the number of volunteers partnering with the DoE on this recovery effort,” Wayne Panton said Friday night. He said that the support demonstrated the commitment to environmental issues in the community and he was looking forward to the day when the entire country will embrace the wider need for conservation and understand the significance of protecting all of the country’s natural assets.

Praising the organisers of the event and the coordination of the volunteer effort, Panton also hinted some more good news was coming. “We have every reason to be optimistic that we will be able to make a significant announcement about funding for the project very soon,” he said.

The fundraiser was held in front of the Green Parrot bar on the Royal Watler terminal in the George Town harbour, where entertainment was provided by Red White and Blue. A raffle, t-shirt sales, a silent auction (which included an incredible hand-made quilt, which raised $350 on its own) and generous donations all combined to make the fundraising efforts a great success.

Cayman News Service

This hand-made quilt raised $350 for the Magic Reef Restoration Project

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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to the organizers. I am proud to support such an effort and enjoyed Friday night’s event.

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