Reef study presented to Environment Minister
A unique study looking at the health of the island's reef system has been presented to Environment Minister Jeanne Atherden.
The report is a culmination of all the data collected during Reef Watch 2014.
The one-day event was held on June 28 and involved more than 20 teams of volunteers surveying 40 different patches of reefs located across Bermuda's north lagoon.
The scheme, which was sponsored by Hiscox, was conducted in support of the Bermuda Reef Ecosystem Analysis and Monitoring (BREAM) programme, led by chief scientist, Dr Thaddeus Murdoch.
“It was great to spend time with all the Reef Watch participants and to hear about their snorkelling experiences during Reef Watch Day 2014,” Dr Murdoch said.
“I am really pleased with the information they collected.
“Their efforts confirmed for a second year that our reef corals and plant-eating fishes remain healthy.
“Worryingly, our commercial fish, such as grouper and snapper, were in very low numbers across most reefs again this year.
“It is important that all parts of the reef are healthy if they are to protect us from big storms like Hurricane Gonzalo, and to continue to provide food for future generations of Bermudian residents.”
The Reef Watch initiative provided scientists with a huge amount of data that would normally have taken months to gather. It also involved the counting of more than 4,000 individual fishes that were then classified into nine main categories based on their importance on the reef.
The surveys were conducted using hula-hoops to help measure coral health and the amount of seaweed and mobile reef inhabitants, like lobsters, found on the lagoonal reefs.