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Sustainability

TAMTF sustainability has two synergistic parts that are

essential to the success of each other.

First artificial reef built and installed in Nicaragua was located on the sea floor of San Jun del Sur Bay June 2014. This video provides a dramatic demonstration that artificial reefs naturally evolve into sustainable ecosystems even when placed in a marine desert (sandy bottom). Of great interest to local fishermen are the juvenile pink snapper (Pargo lunarejo), a highly desired fish significantly depleted by over-fishing.

A spiny green lobster makes itself at home in our artificial reef.

Ecological

  • The primary objective of TAMTF is the creation and protection of artificial reefs to provide homes for local marine life.

  • As long as the artificial reef is protected, Mother Nature takes over and in a surprisingly short time local marine species flourish. The expectation is for the artificial reefs to become an incubator for many local non-propagated species.

  • The cooperative that will own all the installed reefs and the marine life in, on and around them within the concession is responsible for providing 24/7 protection.

  •  TAMTF has achieved two unique business practices that facilitate long-term reef protection. First, the Nicaraguan government has granted the local cooperative ownership of the ocean floor and reef, which enables them to protect it and allow the reef to mature. Second, TAMTF is creating a lobster hatchery to seed the reefs annually with lobster juveniles to provide the cooperative with a robust revenue stream in exchange for protecting all other marine life in and on the reefs.

  • The cooperative is only permitted to farm approved local species that are artificially propagated. This artificial propagation may be expanded to additional species (i.e. oysters, sea cucumbers, and mussels) with the support of TAMTF.

  • To ensure the protection of the reefs is sufficient, TAMTF will monitor the health of the reefs. If the cooperative is not protecting the reefs sufficiently, then a two-step process will begin to encourage compliance:

    • Until the cooperative begins adequately protecting the reef, all lobster seeding will stop, essentially ending lobster farming.

    • If the cooperative continues to abuse the reefs through the harvesting of non-propagated species, then TAMTF will petition the Nicaraguan Fisheries Department to correct the cooperative’s behavior. If protection of the reef is not improved, TAMTF will ask the Nicaraguan government to revoke the cooperative’s ownership of the reef and a new cooperative will be found to replace it.

 

Economic

  • In order to ensure that the cooperatives are protecting the reefs and to document the ecosystem benefits, TAMTF must ensure its long-term ability for scientific monitoring of the reefs. Some of this may be done by volunteers but routine monitoring will be a TAMTF expense.

  • Lobster aquaculture is expected to provide an ongoing revenue stream for the fisherman’s cooperative and improve their socio-economic conditions.  In parallel, the only way to ensure long term monitoring of the reefs is to create a revenue stream for TAMTF. This revenue stream will take two forms:

    • One of TAMTF’s primary assets will be the lobster hatchery (and potentially hatcheries for other species). TAMTF will charge the Cooperatives a nominal fee for lobster juveniles to cover the cost of Hatchery operation and monitoring of the reefs.

    • As an additional protection, once the cumulative lobster production of aquaculture operations grows past the local market, TAMTF plans to develop international marketing channels to improve the profitability of all cooperatives and enhance ongoing revenue streams. Any excess funds generated will be reinvested in additional reefs, aquaculture operations and associated programs.