A recent planting of juvenile Red Mangrove is showing early signs of success. Planted three weeks ago in their breeze block nurseries, all the plants are looking healthy and have grown. One is flowering, and some are already putting out prop roots. The mangroves have been planted in two areas near the entrance to Nanny Cay.

These juvenile mangroves were grown, and donated, by Caribbean Sustainable Fisheries (CSF), a BVI company that is spearheading sustainable lobster farming. CSF take lobster larvae that have a naturally high mortality rate in the wild, and grow them on land. The mangrove propagules were planted in breeze blocks, and flowing water from the lobster tanks provided a rich source of nutrients to help them thrive. The concrete blocks will eventually dissolve in the seawater as the mangroves grow.

Red Mangrove Prop Roots

In order to grow big in a soft muddy environment, the Red Mangrove has adapted spider-like aerial ‘prop roots’ which grow deep, and help prop up the tree stabilising it and the coastline. These special roots also filter the salt out of the seawater that the plant takes up, allowing it to get the water it needs to survive, without the damaging salt. The prop roots also have openings that allow the tree to breath air.

CSF – Biologically Neutral

The sustainability and commercial potential of CSF’s model is based on the fact that, in the wild, less than 1 in 100 lobsters survive their first year and only 1 in 1000 benthic phase lobsters (baby lobsters but old enough to have a hard shell) make it to adulthood.

In fact, between 85-98% of lobster larvae die within their first week of life. Based on these figures, conservatively collecting the larvae to be raised on the farm will have almost zero effect on the natural population.

The fact that CSF harvests larvae with almost zero impact to the natural population is referred to as “biological neutrality.”

CSF adheres to a biologically neutral system. This includes ecological foot print management to ensure that there are no toxic environmental effects from any part of its operations.

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