How Unite BVI is working to protect coral reefs

Image by Laura Arton, Beyond the Reef Foundation, BVI
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
8 September 2021
Unite BVI was founded by Virgin Unite and Virgin Limited Edition in 2016 to help create new opportunities for communities across the British Virgin Islands.

Since launching, Unite BVI has brought together incredible people, resources, and ideas to tackle local community and environmental challenges. The foundation’s driving vision is to inspire and empower generations of world-changers starting in the beautiful British Virgin Islands.

In recent months Unite BVI has partnered with The Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, The National Parks Trust, Beyond the Reef, BVI Scuba Operators, and The Foreign & Commonwealth Office through The HM Governor's Office in the BVI, to reduce the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD).

SCTLD is a fast-spreading, lethal disease currently known to affect over 20 stony (or hard) coral species. The disease spreads quickly, with infected corals displaying lesions before tragically dying. If left untreated the mortality rate is 100% fatal.

Image by Laura Arton, Beyond the Reef Foundation, BVI
Image by Laura Arton, Beyond the Reef Foundation, BVI

To tackle the SCTLD problem Unite BVI is collaborating with the partners mentioned above, private donors, and certified divers in a collective effort to treat affected coral with a life-saving antibiotic specialist treatment.

"It is critical that we act fast, SCTLD spreads quickly and if we are going to save our coral reefs time is of the essence. We need as much support as possible from donors and volunteer certified divers as hope is only lost if we do not react quickly enough,” said Lauren Keil, foundation manager at Unite BVI.

Certified divers are trained by The Ministry of Natural Resource’s marine biologists on how to safely and effectively administer coral treatment. Divers who undergo the specialist training are then able to assist with the treatment and help protect priority coral reefs across the BVI.

Unite BVI has provided grant funding not only for treatment, training and monitoring, but also for educational support. Be sure to check out The National Parks Trust's education campaign, which is engaging the wider BVI community for continued support and involvement in coral protection.

Unite BVI Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation incubated by Virgin Unite with a vision to create opportunities that inspire and empower a generation of world-changers, starting in the beautiful BVI. To learn more about Unite BVI and the work they do to support communities across the BVI please visit the website and get involved.