Why Mangroves Are The Key To Sustainability
When you farm as many lobsters as we do at Caribbean Sustainable Fisheries (CSF) and Orkney Shellfish Hatchery (OSH) – creating and maintaining sustainable habitats becomes the #1 concern! I have a commitment to keeping both of the companies sustainable, which ultimately means scalable.
It’s one of the reasons why we farm lobsters on land and not in water, even though it certainly was not the easiest, fastest, or inexpensive route. This means we must protect the natural habitats and environments we raise these lobsters in. Raising living things is tricky and we are constantly monitoring the facilities and environment around us to ensure we are not doing any harm. This is where the magnificent mangroves come in.
What are mangroves?
A mangrove is a tree/shrub-looking plant. It grows in tropical coastal swamps in shallow water that become flooded during high tide. In other words, these forests are perfect for life in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
What do mangroves do?
I call them the magnificent, sometimes even magic, mangroves for a reason. The mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass all work together to keep coastal zones healthy and pollutant-free.
They do this in a few ways. The mangroves trap pollutants and sediment that would have filtered right back into the sea "“ making them nature’s BRITA! The coral reefs protect the mangroves from the ocean waves that would easily be destroyed.
It is crucial to protect these habits because they create the perfect, safe place for sealife to grow. In shallow water, mangrove forests, along with the seagrass and coral, create a nursery where shellfish reach their first stage of life. It’s where barnacles and oysters hangout and where lobsters go to molt. It’s the perfect enclave or “lobster motel.”
What’s happening to the mangroves?
I consider myself a pragmatic environmentalist. Meaning, I understand we just can’t say “stop” when development is happening, because ultimately, it will happen anyway.
The key is to change the way we view the development. We must require the builders to offset the harm they cause by building artificial reefs or planting mangroves elsewhere.
How will mangroves keep CSF sustainable?
When lobsters defecate, algae eats this and grows and blooms. An algae bloom is the exact opposite of what we want in a sustainable environment. Algae blooms suck up all the oxygen in the water and the effects are horrific on sea life.
As you may have gathered, lobster farming and keeping the habitat neutral is no easy task. However, growing mangroves is a sustainable solution. The mangroves will suck up the dirty water, allowing clean water to flow back into the ocean, or back into your lobster farm.
Nature is neat.
We’re looking to build mangrove ranches to grow and sell to offset habitat destruction. It’s another one of our sustainable initiatives at CSF that we’re excited to share! Stay tuned for updates as we go along in creating more sustainable solutions.
Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Learn more about Giles.