The Branson Centre is propelling
small businesses into
the big time...
Entrepreneur: Andrew Ross
|"...ours is the first and only
private firm providing propagative coral
restoration services in the Caribbean..."
|Meet the Maker:
Born in Canada, Andrew Ross moved to Jamaica in
1997. Coming from working on the Great Barrier
Reef he was disappointed by the poor condition of
the country’s coral reefs and shocked by the rarity
of fish. He spent three years working as Scientific
Officer at the Montego Bay Marine Park, and
studying marine biology and coral restoration,
where he developed a high-productivity way
to grow and propagate coral for restoration.
The best way to plant large amounts of coral
seemed to him to be privately, so he has turned
his passion into a business. That business’s coral and coastal ecosystem restoration services are
helping to restore valuable ecosystem services in
the Caribbean and keep tourists coming back.
|The golden opportunity:
The amount of coral that covers the seafloor in
the Caribbean has fallen from around 40% in the
late 1970s to just 0.015% today.
Much of the beach erosion we see today is caused
by the lack of these corals, leaving beaches with
no protection from waves. With no coral to live in
fish regeneration rates, and thus productivities,
Andrew decided to study restoration through
his concern over the continuing decline of these corals and thanks to his research he has
developed ways to restore them. His company
Seascape Caribbean is helping to regrow the
corals, their reefs and their services.
|The business in a nutshell:
Seascape Caribbean launched two and a half
years ago. The primary focus is to develop
financially sustainable (for both the company and
client) coral restoration sites and programmes
Customers are mostly seaside hotels who want to
ensure their guests have the best snorkelling and
diving experiences, protect their bathing area or
restore their sandy beach.
- Direct tourism: use in live-coral snorkelling
parks and coral gardens for tourists. This
includes training local coral maintenance
gardeners and snorkelling guides.
- Indirect tourism: support through coastal
protection and beach restoration, focusing
on restoration of live corals and also artificial
reefs, mangroves and seagrasses.
- Fisheries enhancement through habitat
restoration, replacement and harvest
||I want to see the vivid reef
that I read about and my professors
talk of with tears in their eyes.
||- Andrew Ross
How it's helping the community:
Long, white, beautiful beaches and clear blue
seas filled with colourful, diverse and majestic
fish. These are two things that make tourists flock
to the Caribbean.
But erosion to Caribbean reefs means both
are in danger. Restoration not only provides
valuable ecosystem services but also coastal
protection, beach restoration, fisheries
enhancement, and helping to sustain a beautiful
reef for all to enjoy.
It also provides hope: hope
that the reef is not dead, that beach loss is
reversible and that fisheries may again provide
more than subsistence livelihoods. Seascape
aims to help restore the Caribbean’s coastal
ecosystems. It is helping maintain the tourism
industry that is hugely important in supporting
local communities in Jamaica, and the wider
The future looks bright:
An improved Caribbean coastline and
preservation if not resurrection of these
endangered corals; that’s Andrew’s ambition.
He wants to work with government ministries,
fishermen’s organisations and non-governmental
organisations. He aims to restore “high-value”
locations around the Caribbean, with an
immediate focus on the Jamaican north coast.
- Current number of employees: One
- Expected number of employees in three
years’ time: Five to seven
- Current annual turnover: $40,000 US
- Expected annual turnover in three years’
time: $1,000,000 (US)
- Investment to date: University of West Indies,
Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, Doctor’s
Cave Beach Club, small donors and personal
- Location of headquarters: Montego Bay,