Jardines de la Reina National Park is a globally significant protected area covering 838 square miles. The park protects nearly 40% of total area; a series of pristine reefs spanning 75 nautical miles and covers 2,640 square miles. Referred to as “the Galapagos of the Caribbean” and located 52 miles south of Cuba, it provides a sanctuary to many overfished species. Some of these species include silky sharks, hawksbill turtles, black groupers and queen triggerfish. Given the degradation of neighboring Caribbean reefs due to disease, climate change and human activity, scientists are looking to this site to acquire information that could help improve reef restoration projects in other countries. It is considered one of the best example of how marine protected areas positively impact the local marine ecosystem and economy.
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation teamed up with the Oceans for Youth Foundation to document the effect of over two decades of protection has had on Cuban coral reefs. Scientifically designated marine parks are considered the most effective conservation tool as they protect areas sensitive to overfishing and development in its entirety. They typically include spawning aggregation sites which are critical for reproduction. These sites can help sustain and replenish fish stocks for future generations, provide essential information on reef dynamics and reef health and help maintain genetic and species biodiversity.
The expedition will be featured in an upcoming documentary with Jessica and Guy. Some highlights include a look into Ernest Hemingway’s life in Havana, captivating footage of pristine reefs, diving with 10 ft. silky sharks, and face-to-face encounters with American crocodiles! GHOF will also bring you new virtual reality footage of elk horn coral gardens, silky shark encounters and more!