Saturday, September 24, 2021 — San Juan, Puerto Rico — The San Juan Bay Estuary Program (Estuario) installed five structures to create marine habitat and help fish and crustacean’s growth under the piers of the Club Náutico de San Juan. These structures known as BIOHUTS become nurseries for aquatic species—they are designed to provide food and shelter. This is the first-time structures like these have been installed in Puerto Rico to create marine habitat.
“These spaces will create an abundance of marine life that will help boost regular and sport fishing, which is allowed in this area,” said Brenda Torres, executive director of the Estuary.
BIOHUTS transform submerged empty spaces of habitat under docks and other port facilities into marine life spaces. They contain empty shells of the marine snail known as the conch (Strombus gigas). These empty shells, which were discarded once the shellfish were extracted, were rescued from fishing communities and other places in Puerto Rico. In turn, the snail provides an internal space for juvenile marine creatures to develop, and food in the form of microalgae. Once installed, fish populations and other creatures that begin to inhabit these new living spaces will be studied.
This project provides an example of how we can contribute to a healthy ocean, thus leading to a healthy and resilient society. This is a blue economy project, as it creates nurseries for fish and crustaceans of importance to commercial and recreational fisheries. It is also a blue infrastructure project, as it emulates some of the ecological services of marine ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. This project complies with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.