During the 5th to the 7th of March, Zakita and Micheal represented the Centre of Sustainable Development (CSD) and the wider Island School/CEI community at the annual Agribusiness Expo in New Providence. Here, they spoke about the models of food production (Permaculture and Aquaponics) currently being employed at Cape Eleuthera, as well as networking and informing visitors to the expo about the events and opportunities going on within this organization.
Many primary and high school children came by the booth, and an exciting dialogue ensued on the benefits of aquaponics and sustainable agriculture. It was inspiring to see how many of the booth-visitors knew about aquaponics in particular and wanted to know how to set up their own system for household food production.
In total, the expo visit was productive and a success and it was heartening to spread the word about the good work that the Island School-CSD-DCMS- CEI community is engaging in.
Last October, Hurricane Sandy caused a dilemma by shifting the off-shore aquaculture cage. Last week the aquaculture team, along with the help of a number of CEI and IS faculty members, successfully moved the off-shore cage back into its pre-Hurricane Sandy position. The move went off without a hitch and has been a long time in the making after months of prep work.
After a few dives, with a large team of helpers, new anchor lines have been installed and we are now in the process of re-positioning the anchors in order to prevent a repeat of last year’s unfortunate events. With the cage back in its original position, preparation can now begin for a new batch of Cobia fingerlings in the coming months. Continue reading →
Emma E. Cooper Primary school joined us last week for an afternoon tour. However, this was no typical tour of campus! The entire primary school came with Kindergarten through grade 6, a total of 83 students and 8 teachers; we had quite the group! It was their first visit in 4 years and all were more than excited to be here at Island School.
Seven Queens University students, a group of visiting students from Ontario, Canada here fulfilling the field requirement for their teaching degree, came to lend a hand. We split the students into groups where they rotated between three different stations. In the Wet lab, they not only saw all the checkered puffers, bonefish, juvenile lemon sharks, lionfish, yellow stingrays, cobia, tilapia, etc. but they also learned how and why we are studying these marine species. The next station was a virtual tour of a coral reef – a movie by BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation) where the students learned what makes a coral reef, its importance in the Bahamas, and how to protect this fragile coastal ecosystem. The third station was split between the farm with pigs, ducks and a permaculture garden, and the sustainable systems of campus. The systems tour exposed students to how we make biodiesel for our school vans, resource/recycle ~90% of what we use, and how we reduce our energy “footprint” by using solar panels and a wind turbine to produce energy. Continue reading →
CEI attended the 2013 Rock Sound Homecoming as part of their community outreach, and engaged the local community members in a conversation about marine conservation.
The CEI booth was packed with information on a range of issues including plastics awareness, conch conservation, sharks, climate change, bonefish best handling practices, aquaponics, and aquaculture info. We also had free giveaways! The fried lionfish and tilapia samples were a big hit, especially with all the local kids! The aquaculture mini system and free lettuce was also very popular. The day in Rock Sound was great fun – thank-you to all the CEI staff and interns who help run the booth. Look forward to the next homecoming!
In an effort to reduce the amount of organic waste produced by the various branches at CEI that utilize the wet-lab facility, a Caribbean Spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) ranching project was initiated in mid-December 2012.
Mature wild-caught lobster were housed in one of the vacant holding tanks in the wet-lab and fed off-cuts, old dissection specimens and any other organic material that would have previously been discarded. Due to a lack of published information on ideal stocking densities and holding conditions, another objective of this study is to determine the optimal levels of the above mentioned parameters. A number of capture methods were tested. These include baited cages, pole-snares and by hand. The latter two methods have thus far been the most effective.While the primary focus of this project is waste management, a secondary focus is an attempt to capture Spiny lobster pueruli, pre-settlement. Pueruli refers to a life stage in the lobster between larvae and juvenile. These pueruli are then transported back to the lab, where they are also fed organic waste produced by the lab, chopped into a finer form than that which is given to the mature specimens. Continue reading →
While CEI will be welcoming a new bunch of Spring interns in January, one intern is already at CEI, getting off to an early start in the Sustainable Aquaculture Program.
Tom Keet, from South Africa, attended Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, SA. He just finished his undergraduate degree in Aquaculture, and is putting to use what he learned in the CEI wet lab. Tom heard about CEI while researching sustainable aquaculture projects, and decided to apply for a spring internship.
Tom is helping to establish a pilot study on the feasibility of culturing spiny lobster in the lab. With his knowledge of aquaculture systems and his strong work ethic in the field, Tom is a valuable addition to team CEI. While here, Tom says he plans to enjoy his time working in the ocean, strengthen his experience in aquaculture, and fish in his free time. Tom plans to head back to South Africa in June to pursue a Master’s degree in Aquaculture.
For the first time in almost 3 years the aquaculture team is harvesting fish from their offshore cage! The fish will be eaten in the Island School’s dining hall as a demonstration of a community-based aquaculture program that is focused on producing local food, while also reducing fishing pressure on wild fish stocks around South Eleuthera. We all ate cobia for breakfast on Thursday! All of the harvested fish carcasses will be used to make silage that will eventually be used to make tilapia and pig food. This is an attempt to produce as little “waste” as possible, and a way to utilize all of the nutrients that are lost after the fish is filleted as a way to produce more food.
As you may remember, CEI outfitted the offshore cage with Predator-X netting that was donated by the materials company DSM, www.dsm.com, and the net production company Net-Systems, www.net-systems.com. We are happy to announce that this netting did survive shark predation attempts, showing minimal damage from any shark bites it did endure. The netting, in conjunction with adequate cage maintenance (such as removal of any dead fish and regular cleaning) is the answer to the aquaculture program’s major problem of fish escapement, and will lead to yearly cobia growouts and year-round harvest.
Two weeks ago the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) harvested over one hundred black penshells from a beautiful beach at Ten Bay, located near Palmetto Point. Penshells are a kind of scallop, and we aim to culture them here at CEI for a of couple reasons. As filter feeders, penshells thrive in water with higher nutrients, using the nutrients to grow and as a result clean the surrounding water. Currently, we have our collected penshells in two separate groups: one group in the wet lab in a flow through tank, and another group in a small cage about 100m off the beach where our main pump intake is. In the lab, we feed the penshells concentrated microalgae, whereas the group out in the ocean does not get fed. We are monitoring both groups daily, by recording temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity.
Once both groups are acclimated and showing good growth rates, we are going to attempt to breed them and raise penshells into maturity. We plan on putting the resulting stock in the mangrove
This fall the Cape Eleuthera Institute installed a new shark-resistant netting called PREDATOR-X on CEI’s off-shore aquaculture cage. The netting was developed in partnership with NET Systems, Inc., and DSM Dyneema. This video provides an inside look at the research and development process, as well as the installation.