Bay Islands Reef Restoration (BIRR) is a registered non-profit, non-governmental organization legally recognized by the government of Honduras. We are a coral nursery and coral restoration program dedicated to conserving and restoring threatened coral species. BIRR is supported by Turquoise Bay and Mayan Princess Resorts and Subway Watersports, Mayan Divers and Roatan Dive Academy.
In 2016, Turquoise Bay and Subway Watersports worked with Coral Restoration Foundation International (CRFI), a Florida-based non-profit, to install 10 coral nursery “trees” near Turquoise Bay, and 10 “trees” were installed near Mahogany Bay on the south shore of Roatan. The nursery trees, which are constructed out of PVC, fiberglass rods, and marine epoxy, are attached to the sea floor with moorings and suspended in mid-water with subsurface floats. 10 additional coral trees were installed in the Turquoise Bay nursery in June, 2019. Due to strong currents and wind and on the south side, as well as the substantial distance from Subway Watersport's boat dock, we decided to move the coral nursery out of Mahogany Bay.
In September 2018, more than 400 corals were moved from the Mahogany Bay nursery and installed on the new trees in Turquoise Bay Channel. The 10 trees from Mahogany Bay were moved to the Seaquest Deep dive site in West Bay where they are being maintained by Mayan Divers. In 2020, we added another nursery at a dive site called White Hole, which currently consists of 10 trees. The coral nursery trees in White Hole, Turquoise Channel and Seaquest Deep are being regularly maintained and are in excellent condition. No coral trees have been lost or damaged, and the vast majority of corals are healthy and showing substantial growth.
While Elkhorn and Staghorn corals have declined dramatically throughout the Caribbean, there are still healthy colonies on Roatan’s reefs. BIRR collects a portion of healthy colonies, fragments the collections, and grows the fragments in our nursery until they are large enough to plant back on the reef. We seek to preserve the remaining genetic diversity of these threatened species and plant genetically-diverse corals back on the reef to create thickets of closely grouped corals that can more readily sexually reproduce through successful spawning.
BIRR provides Subway EcoGreen PADI Divemaster interns and Turquoise Bay Resort guests with the opportunity to learn about important coral conservation initiatives and take part in coral nursery maintenance and coral outplanting. We hope you will visit Subway Watersports and Mayan Divers and dive with us as we seek to restore Roatan’s reefs.