TCRF Completes Repair Work On Coral Gardens Snorkel Trail

TCRF REPLACES DECADES OLD BOUNDARY BUOY LINE AROUND THE BIGHT REEF IN FRONT OF CORAL GARDENS RESORT

16 June 2015, Providenciales, TCI – The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) with a great deal of assistance from a great group of volunteers, has replaced the badly damaged, decades old boundary buoy line around the snorkel reef in front of Coral Gardens Resort. The ring of buoys is intended to help keep snokelers off the shallow reef areas in order to protect the reef from damage. Over the years, the ring of buoys has been buffeted by storms, had lines broken and repaired and was no longer protecting some sections of the reef.

“This was a project we started several years ago when we worked with a team of volunteers to restore the underwater snorkel trail markers,” said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF. “We knew the boundary buoy line needed replacing, so we put a plan in action to secure the funding to purchase the necessary supplies to complete the project.”

The project entailed installing six new sea floor anchors to reposition the buoy ring over areas where coral growth had moved beyond the original boundaries of the boundary buoys. Then the old boundary buoy line had to be removed and hauled away while a new buoy line was prepared on the beach. Once the buoys were firmly attached to the new line, a team of divers, snorkelers and shore hands slowly fed the line out so it could be attached to the sea floor anchors. “We invested approximately $20,000 into this effort,” said Mr. Stark, “all of which came from donations, memberships and the sale of our retail merchandise. We would like to encourage all the business and visitors who enjoy the benefits of Page 2 of 2 this reef to help support this effort by becoming a member of the TCRF or making a donation to our nonprofit organization.”

Although coral looks like rock, it’s actually a living being consisting of thousands of small animals living in limestone homes. Corals are very sensitive to damage from being kicked by fins, touched by human hands, as well as from natural causes such as pollution, storms, and nutrient runoff from landscaping. The Bight Reef in front of Coral Gardens Resort is one of the most popular snorkeling destinations for tourists visiting Provo and, therefore, requires protection from potential visitor damage.

“We want to thank the volunteers who came out for two days to help with the installation,” said Mr. Stark. “We also want to thank Somewhere Café and Lounge, Provo Turtle Divers, and Merangel Ecological Services for their assistance and support. Without the help of these individuals and businesses, we could not have been successful in this effort.”

About TCRF

Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

TCRF and Big Blue Install 18 New Snorkel Boat Moorings

TCRF AND BIG BLUE LIMITED COMPLETE THE INSTALLATION OF 18 NEW SNORKEL BOAT MOORINGS

9 June 2015, Providenciales, TCI – The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) with a great deal of assistance from Big Blue Limited, has completed the installation of 18 new snorkel boat moorings. Twelve of the moorings are located on the outside of the coral reef east of Leeward Cut used daily by snorkel boat operators, two are on the inside of the reef and four are located off shore from Fort George Cay. The moorings consist of a sea floor anchor that is a rock pin epoxied into rock on the sea floor, a nylon mooring line leading to the surface white buoy with a blue stripe and a yellow or yellow/black polypropylene pick up line.

“First, we would like to thank Big Blue Limited for their generous donation of boat and staff time over the four days it took to complete the work and the volunteers that also helped to make it happen,” said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF. “We also want to thank all the local watersports operators who support our efforts to install permanent moorings, thereby eliminating the need to drop anchors on our fragile coral reefs.”

Each mooring costs approximately $2,000 to install and all the funding for this effort came solely from funds raised by the TCRF – no funding was provided by the TCI Government (the work was, however, approved by DEMA and done under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between DEMA and TCRF). “We invested approximately $36,000 into this effort,” said Mr. Stark, “all of which came from donations, memberships and the sale of our retail merchandise. We would like to encourage all the businesses who benefit from these moorings to contribute financially so we can maintain them over the long term.”

Anchoring near a coral reef frequently causes damage to the reef, even when the boat operator is extremely careful where and how they anchor. Given that there can be a dozen or more boats out in the area where the moorings were installed and visiting the same sites twice a day, a lot of damage has already been done to these coral reefs. Using the moorings will greatly reduce future damage to these reefs.

“It is also important for the boat captains using these moorings to use them properly,” said Mr. Stark. “They are designed to be used with a dock line run through the loop on the end of the pick up line (see the illustration). The pick up line should not be attached directly to a cleat on the vessel, as this will place too much pressure on the sea floor anchor. Adding the dock line provides a bit more scope and will help the moorings last much longer.”

About TCRF

Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

Aggressor Fleet Raffle To Support TCRF Moorings Work

Aggressor Fleet Supports Turks & Caicos Reef Fund Augusta, GA Aggressor Fleet is joining forces with the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund to raise money to support the boat mooring project within the Turks & Caicos Islands. The TCRF has been designated by the government’s Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs as the lead non-governmental organization for the installation and maintenance of boat moorings in and around the Marine National Parks of the Turks & Caicos Islands. The Aggressor Fleet has generously donated a trip for 2 on the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II as a raffle prize to support the efforts of the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund. Tickets for this 7-night cruise are $25 each and only 500 will be sold. Raffle ticket sales have started and will conclude on August 27, 2015. The drawing will be held onboard the Turks & Caicos Aggressor II while in port at Providenciales on August 28, 2015. The value of this raffle prize is $5,790. All proceeds go to support the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund's dive and snorkel boat mooring project. Tickets can be purchased online at www.tcreef.org/aggressorraffle. The beautiful Turks & Caicos Aggressor II offers guests a week of thrilling wall diving along the coasts of Providenciales, West Caicos and French Caye. The sheer walls of Providenciales begin at 40 feet, plunging into the deep blue abyss and include crevasses and ledges that are decorated with huge orange Elephant Ear sponges, Gorgonians, Crimson Rope Sponges and abundant macro life. About Aggressor and Dancer Fleet As the longest operating and largest organization of liveaboard adventure cruises in the world, the combined knowledge, resources, experience, and technical expertise of Aggressor Fleet and Dancer Fleet are all focused on delivering a safe adventure you will remember for a lifetime on each and every cruise. Visit http://www.aggressor.com and http://www.dancerfleet.com for specific yacht and destination information. Email: info@liveaboardfleet.com or call 1-800-348-2628 or 1-706-993-2531 for your booking today. About TCRF Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

4th Annual Cocktail Party and Fundraiser Raises over $12,400 for the TCRF

TCRF HOSTS SUCCESSFUL 4th ANNUAL FUNDRAISER AND RAISES OVER $12,400

1 April 2015, Providenciales, TCI – The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) hosted its 4th Annual Cocktail Party and Fundraiser on 25 March 2015 at the Provo Golf Club. Approximately 110 people attended the event where they were greeted with a glass of champagne generously donated by the IGA Supermarket. The guests enjoyed a sampling of the wonderful hors d’oeuvres. Special guest, Rob Stewart, the producer, director and star of the award-winning film Sharkwater, provided the attendees with information about the important role sharks play in maintaining healthy reefs. The event raised $12,405.00 for the TCRF through ticket sales, a silent auction and a raffle for a half-day cruise on the White Sands, a 42-foot, Africat motor yacht kindly donated by White Sands Cruises. After expenses, the TCRF has over $10,400 to invest in its various projects around the Turks & Caicos Islands helping to preserve and protect the environment of the TCI.


“We want to thank everyone who attended for supporting us and the various businesses and individuals who donated items for the silent auction,” said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF. “I have to extend a special thank you to the Provo Golf Club management and staff who helped to make the event such a big success and to Rob Stewart for his thought-provoking words. Congratulations also go out to Joel Goldfarb of New York who was the lucky winner of White Sands Cruises raffle prize.”

“We were very pleased to see how community support has grown over the past five years for our organization and the work we have undertaken thus far. We are Page 2 of 2 also very pleased that the Acting DEMA Director, Mr. Henry Wilson, attended the event as we have a very strong working relationship with his department. We look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Wilson and DEMA on a responsible and comprehensive environmental strategy.”

“Our goal is to put 85 cents of every dollar raised into various projects we have underway throughout the islands. In fact, we raised $12,405 at the event last Wednesday and, after expenses, we are able to put 84% of those dollars, or over $10,400 into project work. Our biggest project at present is the installation, maintenance and expansion of snorkel, yacht and dive boat moorings around all the islands, but especially in the Marine National Parks throughout the TCI. We also continue to expand our educational programs with another scholarship this year for a TCI student to attend a summer session at the School for Field Studies on South Caicos and a new elementary education program on the marine environment which we plan to unveil in the Fall of 2015.”

About TCRF Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

Turks & Caicos Reservations Pledges a Portion of March Profits to TCRF

TURKS & CAICOS RESERVATIONS BECOMES A SUPPORTER OF THE TURKS & CAICOS REEF FUND

11 March 2014, Providenciales, TCI – The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) continues to gain financial support from businesses that rely on healthy coral reefs. The latest supporter is Turks & Caicos Reservations (TCR), a Providenciales-based vacation booking service for all the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Val Kalliecharan, Managing Director of Turks & Caicos Reservations said, “We were interested in finding a way that our “TCR Gives Back” program could support coral reef protection in the Turks & Caicos Islands. We thought of the TCRF who has been very active in supporting marine environmental protection throughout the TCI. We were excited to learn that the TCRF is a volunteer run, non-governmental agency dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and committed to using 85% of the funds they raise to support marine environmental programs.”

Turks & Caicos Reservations has kindly committed to donate a proportion of their gross profits from all reservations made with TCR during the month of March. “We are sincerely grateful to Val and TCR for their generous offer of support,” said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF. “This funding commitment will help us expand our program efforts in the TCI to include not just moorings and snorkel trails, but to continue to add new educational programs and support our advocacy efforts to help protect the marine environment of the TCI. Without our healthy reef systems, these islands would be very different places and would not have the healthy fish populations and lovely beaches that attract visitors.”

The TCRF has been active recently with the installation and/or repair of over 50 dive and snorkel boat moorings throughout the TCI. They have also initiated a installation program with DEMA (TCIG’s Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs) of large vessel moorings with the ultimate goal of providing standard moorings for large vessels visiting any of the islands within the TCI. TCRF has also been assisting DEMA with swim zone line maintenance and installation and will be doing extensive snorkel trail restoration work at the Bight Reef in front of Coral Gardens Resort later this spring.

ABOUT TCRF

Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the marine environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

ABOUT TURKS & CAICOS RESERVATIONS

Turks and Caicos Reservations, an Island Reservations Ltd. company, is the only locally-based booking service for the Turks and Caicos Islands and offers full service vacation planning and booking. With locally-based agents available on the island seven days a week through toll-free phone, email, and live chat channels, Turks and Caicos Reservations provides the most comprehensive listing of accommodation options for the destination. Call 1-877-774-5486 or visit the Turks and Caicos website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Google Plus to learn more.

TCIG Leadership Reaffirms Commitment to Environmental Charter Following Dinner With Fabien Cousteau

The TCI Government Reaffirms Their Commitment to the Environmental Charter

4 March 2014, Providenciales, TCI. At a private dinner held last night with environmentalist and conservationist, Fabien Cousteau and the management of the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund at Grace’s Cottage on Providenciales, the Governor of the TCI, His Excellency, Peter Beckingham, the Premier of the TCI, the Honorable Dr.Rufus Ewing and the Leader of the Opposition, the Honorable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson reaffirmed their commitment as outlined in the 2001 Environmental Charter to protecting the marine environment of the "Beautiful by Nature" Turks & Caicos Islands.

Mr. Cousteau was visiting the TCI to assist the Turks &Caicos Reef Fund in their fundraising efforts and in their efforts to educate people about the contribution the marine environment makes to the economic health of the islands. "Coral reefs and marine environments in general are threatened worldwide," said Mr. Cousteau, " but the TCI has some of the healthier reefs that I have seen in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean. They are an asset that should be protected not only to protect the economy of these islands, but also to protect them for your children's enjoyment and the future well-being of this country."

"Development throughout the TCI will continue, but the asset that makes these islands attractive to developers and tourists is the healthy marine environment," said Don Stark, Chairman of the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund. "We are pleased that the leadership of the TCI recognize this and support sustainable development. We look forward to continuing to work with the TCIG on the many Page 2 of 2 projects we have initiated and future projects that will promote sustainable development and the protection of the marine environment."

ABOUT FABIEN COUSTEAU AND MISSION 31

Fabien Cousteau is an oceanographic explorer, conservationist and documentary filmmaker. As the first grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Fabien spent his early years aboard his famous grandfather’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone; and learned how to scuba dive on his fourth birthday. Today, Fabien continues to fulfill his family’s legacy to protect and preserve the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats (www.fabiencousteau.org). Fabien’s nonprofit organization, Plant A Fish is designed to empower communities and children to help restore local water ecosystems through the healthy “replanting” of key marine species with the ultimate goal of planting 1 billion “fish” worldwide (www.plantafish.org). Fabien’s Mission 31 expedition, commencing in 2014, will that break new ground in ocean exploration and also coincides with the 50th anniversary of a monumental legacy left by his grandfather, who is also credited with creating the first underwater habitats for humans and leading a team of ocean explorers on the first attempt to live and work underwater. Mission 31 will go deeper, longer and further while broadcasting each moment on multiple channels exposing the world to the adventure, risk and mystique of what lies beneath (www.mission-31.com).

ABOUT TCRF Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the marine environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

Seacology Awards TCRF A $2800 Grant for Moorings Project

TCRF AWARDED A $2800 GRANT FROM SEACOLOGY

5 February 2013, Providenciales, TCI – The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) is pleased to announce the awarding of a $2800 grant from Seacology to support the TCRF’s dive and snorkel boat mooring project. Seacology is an international environmental nonprofit organization that focuses on saving endangered species, habitats and cultures of islands throughout the world.

David Stone, Deputy Chairman of the TCRF, said “We are grateful that Seacology recognized the importance of the work we are doing to protect the coral reefs around the TCI. This grant will greatly assist us in repairing and replacing the many missing dive and snorkel boat moorings around the islands of the TCI. We have already replaced more than 20 moorings around Provo, Grand Turk and South Caicos and expect to replace or repair many more in the next few months.”

In November 2012, the TCRF and the TCI Government’s Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding designating the TCRF as the lead organization for the installation and maintenance of all boat moorings within the Marine National Parks of the TCI. DEMA is the governmental body responsible for maintenance of the mooring system established several decades ago. Due to lack of funding, little work had been done for many years on the dive and snorkel boat moorings. As a result, many of the locations that are supposed to have moorings, don’t have a mooring. In other locations, the moorings are in a bad state of repair with missing buoys, inadequate buoys, and tattered pickup lines.

With so many missing moorings, watersport operators are forced to drop anchors in the Marine National Parks. Despite their best efforts, dropping anchors around coral reefs inevitably result in damage to the coral that can take many years to repair since coral is a very slow growing animal. In some cases, larger vessels dropping anchors in the marine protected areas has resulted in large coral heads being torn from the reef killing not only the coral head that was ripped out, but also any coral or sponges that it fell on.

The plan that formed the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding with DEMA outlines a three year plan to replace missing moorings at a cost of at least $60,000. It also outlines a maintenance plan that will be implemented by the TCRF to ensure the moorings do not once again fall into a sad state of disrepair. Ultimately, TCRF envisions greatly expanding the number of moorings for both dive and snorkel boats within the Marine National Parks. With the $2800 grant from Seacology, the TCRF has raised nearly $30,000 for this project and already invested over $15,000 in new mooring materials that have been used in Grand Turk, Salt Cay, Pine Cay, West Caicos and Providenciales.

“Coral reefs are essential to the economic and ecologic health of the TCI,” said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF. “Without healthy coral reefs, the worldrenowned beaches wouldn’t exist, the conch and finfish fisheries would be greatly diminished and tourists would stop coming to the TCI. Healthy coral reefs are the lifeblood of these islands.”

About Seacology

Seacology works to conserve vulnerable ecosystems on islands around the world while also helping local communities by providing an island village with a needed civic project - like a new school or health clinic - in exchange for protection of surrounding land or sea ecosystems. So far Seacology has launched 227 projects on 140 islands in 49 countries. Visit them at www.Seacology.org.

About TCRF Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the marine environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

TCRF Fundraiser Raises Over $17,000 to Support Moorings Project

TCRF HOSTS SUCCESSFUL 2nd ANNUAL FUNDRAISER AND RAISES OVER $17,000

29 January 2013, Providenciales, TCI – The Turks & Caicos Reef Fund (TCRF) hosted its 2nd Annual Cocktail Party Fundraiser on 26 January 2013 at the Grace Bay Club. Over 140 people attended the event where they were greeted with a glass of champagne generously donated by the Wine Cellar. The guests enjoyed a sampling of the wonderful hors d’oeuvres while being serenaded by David and Shara Bowen. The event raised $17,280.00 for the TCRF through ticket sales, a silent auction and a three-night Parrot Cay raffle kindly donated by Parrot Cay Resort. The funds raised at the event will help the non-profit continue its work toward helping to preserve and protect the biodiverse marine environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands.


“We want to thank everyone who attended for supporting us and the various businesses and individuals who donated items for the silent auction, said Don Stark, Chairman of the TCRF. “I have to extend a special thank you to the Grace Bay Club management and staff who helped to make the event such a big success and to David and Shara Bowen who generously volunteered to play at the event. Congratulations also go out to Anthony Gruchot of Providenciales who was the lucky winner of the Parrot Cay raffle prize.”

Added David Stone, Deputy Chairman of the TCRF, “We were very pleased to see how community support has grown for our organization and the work we have undertaken thus far. We are also very encouraged that the DEMA Director, Ms. Kathleen Wood, the Minister of the Environment, the Honorable Porsha Stubbs-Smith and the Governor, His Excellency Ric Todd all attended this event and expressed their support of our efforts. We hope this is a signal that the new government is recognizing the critical role the environment plays in every aspect of life on our islands and to all of us living and working here. We look forward to continuing to work with them on a responsible and comprehensive environmental strategy going forward.”

Added Mr. Stark, “Our goal is to put 85 cents of every dollar raised into various projects we have underway throughout the islands. In fact, we raised $17,280 at the event last Saturday and, after expenses, we are able to put 86.4% of those dollars, or nearly $15,000 into project work. Our biggest project right now is the installation, maintenance and expansion of boat moorings around all the islands, but especially in the Marine National Parks. We have already supplied materials to Grand Turk and Salt Cay, which they have used to replace 16 dive and snorkel boat moorings around those two islands. We have also repaired or replaced 8 dive and snorkel boat moorings around Provo in the past six weeks and will do many more in the coming months.” Proceeds from the event will also help to fund improvements and maintenance of snorkel trails on the islands. The TCRF is also expanding its educational efforts through support of Henry the Conch’s outreach program to the children of the Turks and Caicos to help them better understand why the coral reefs around these islands are critical to a healthy island and economy. Other educational outreach programs are also being started by the TCRF.

Another new project that these funds will help to advance is an effort to create a fishery for the invasive lionfish species in the TCI by incentivizing the local fisherman to catch lionfish, which have no closed season, no catch limit and no size limit. TCRF is working with the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs, the Fishery Advisory Committee, local fish processors and individual fishermen to create an ongoing source of supply of lionfish for sale to local restaurants. The TCRF is also working with local restaurants to identify those interested in placing lionfish on their menus. “Many local restaurants are interested in serving lionfish,” said David Stone, “so the challenge we are addressing now is ensuring there is a ongoing source of supply for them. We hope to have this supply chain completed in the very near future so that we can help to manage the population of lionfish, which threatens all of our other commercial fisheries.”

About TCRF Founded in 2010, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund is an all volunteer-run organization that provides funding for education, research and conservation programs to individuals, organizations and agencies that help to preserve and protect the marine environment of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our goal is to have at least 85% of all funds raised through voluntary contributions from divers and snorkelers visiting the Turks & Caicos Islands directed to the Fund’s programs.

Anyone wishing to donate or assist the TCRF in any way can contact them through their website, www.TCReef.org. Scuba divers visiting the islands are encouraged to make a $10 donation through the purchase of a dive tag that can be attached to their dive gear to show their support. Snorkelers visiting the islands can show their support through the $5 purchase of a pink or blue silicone wristband. A complete list of outlets for TCRF merchandise can be found on the organization’s website.

Dive/Snorkel Boat Mooring Status Update to DEMA for 4th Quarter 2012

Moorings Work - Status Report for 4th Quarter 2012 (Issued 22 December 2012) The following is a listing of all the work that was completed in the 4th Quarter of 2012 on dive boat and snorkel boat moorings in the TCI by the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund with a great deal of assistance from the local watersports operators as noted.

Provo North Side: Replaced moorings on Aquarium West, Piranha Cove, and Arawak – Arawak is a site about 180 yards east of Boneyard that has not had a mooring on it for as long as I can remember (thank you, Art Pickering and Provo Turtle Divers)

Identified 10 new snorkel mooring sites just east of Leeward Cut to be installed as soon as weather permits (thank you, Big Blue).

GPS coordinates for the 10 new sites are:

Leeward Snorkel 01 N 21 50.649, W 072 09.587

Leeward Snorkel 02 N 21 50.624, W 072 09.615

Leeward Snorkel 03 N 21 50.601, W 072 09.631

Leeward Snorkel 04 N 21 50.566, W 072 09.663

Leeward Snorkel 05 N 21 50.534, W 072 09.698

Leeward Snorkel 06 N 21 50.506, W 072 09.727

Leeward Snorkel 07 N 21 50.487, W 072 09.755

Leeward Snorkel 08 N 21 50.445, W 072 09.788

Leeward Snorkel 09 N 21 50.423, W 072 09.827

Leeward Snorkel 10 N 21 50.392, W 072 09.858

Mooring pins will be drilled and installed at these sites as soon as the drill is back in fully operational order and weather is amenable to doing the work – target is by end of January 2013.

Pine Cay

Provided Big Blue with a replacement mooring set up for Football Field and a new mooring ball for Eagle Ray Pass. These will be installed as soon as weather permits.

Northwest Point Area

Replace the long missing mooring on Shark Hotel (thank you, TCI Aggressor II) and replaced a black 5-gallon bucket mooring ball with a proper white with blue stripe buoy (thank you, Provo Turtle Divers)

Replaced the missing mooring ball on Eel Garden (thank you, TCI Aggressor II)

Replaced the missing mooring on Thunderdome (thank you, TCI Aggressor II)

Replaced the missing mooring on Two Step Wall (thank you, Provo Turtle Divers)

Other Activities

Moved the moorings drill from DEMA storage to Big Blue only to discover the engine starter cord was broken. We have repaired that, but subsequently discovered that there are some other issues with the power unit. The plan is to take the unit to Marvin Johnson at Contractor’s Equipment and Supply to have it completed checked out prior to beginning the drilling for the new Leeward snorkel moorings. This will happen in early January after Mr. Johnson returns to Providenciales. Big Blue has agreed to transport it over to Mr. Johnson’s shop once I have made the arrangements to have it serviced and checked out.

Finally, have received letters of commitment from Club Med and Beaches. Copies attached. Awaiting letters from Flamingo Divers, Provo Turtle Divers, Dive Provo, Caicos Adventures, and Ocean Vibes.