MANG x Bonefish & Tarpon Trust: Bahamas Restoration Project
by Chuck Gestefield on Apr 30, 2021
Building Hope from the Roots Up
MANG Partners with Bahamian Organizations to Restore Vital Coastal Ecosystems
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., February 05, 2021 – MANG, an American-born apparel company out of South Florida, has partnered with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) and Bahamian organizations Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS) on a collaborative planting project aimed at restoring 69 square miles of critical mangrove forests in the Bahamas destroyed after Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Through this coalition, MANG is committed to planting 100,000 mangroves in the Bahamas over the next five years in order to kick start the natural regrowth of these critical habitats.
“If we don’t conduct this restoration, the likelihood that the mangroves naturally come back fast enough to combat erosion are slim. This project is designed to give natural recovery a boost, so that within 10 years, the mangrove flats are well on their way to recovery,” says Justin Lewis, Bahamas Initiative Manager for BTT.
Mangroves are vital to the flats fisheries in the Bahamas, a $169 million industry that sustains much of the Bahamian people and their economy. Grand Bahama Island and Abaco, the country’s northernmost islands, were the hardest hit after Dorian. The hurricane decimated over 75% of Grand Bahama’s mangroves and nearly 40% of the mangroves on nearby Abaco. From a hydrologic perspective, this level of destruction means the mangroves are not able to naturally reproduce without human intervention. Mangroves are vivaparous, meaning they drop live propagules which drift through the waters before rooting in new locations. However, with so much of the population gone, Grand Bahama was not getting the natural recruitment of propagules from the other islands.
To kick start Mother Nature and rebuild those ecological habitats for future generations, BTT reached out to MANG to help restore the mangrove population. Through MANG’s Buy One. Plant One.® initiative, MANG plants a mangrove for every product they sell. The mangroves are grown at their headquarters in West Palm Beach as well as supplemented through international planting partnerships. MANG is also building mangrove nurseries on Grand Bahama and teaching local organizations how to maintain those nurseries.
As MANG’s CEO and co-founder, Kyle Rossin, explains, “An ocean without mangroves is like a world without air. Mangroves are the number one carbon sequestration tree in the world, and habitat for up to 70% of marine life. Our goal is not only to protect the island and its ecosystem through community-led planting events, but also to preserve the guide-fishing economy, and teach other organizations how to maintain these mangrove nurseries for their own long-term sustainability.”
To help fund this project, MANG launched the Bahamas Restoration Collection, its latest line of coastal-inspired performance activewear, on Feb. 2. The Bahamas Restoration Collection features two designs: the iconic bonefish to honor the world-renowned flats fishing industries, and the Bahamas MANGroflage badge featuring the national Bahamian colors and official motto. Every purchase from this collection directly supports the replanting of mangroves in the Bahamas, as well as entitles the purchaser to an introductory one-year membership to BTT, whose mission it is to conserve bonefish, tarpon and permit – the species, their habitats and the larger fisheries they comprise.
“We’re committed to restoring the mangroves on Grand Bahama so the next generation still has an island to call home in 20 years,” said Rossin.
MANG has already planted more than 6,000 mangroves in the Bahamas during its initial hydrologic survey and evaluation, but a significant number more are needed to restore the millions of mangroves necessary to bring the industry back to a healthy level.
The Bahamas Restoration Collection will be featured through Mar. 31 at www.manggear.com/bahamas.
About Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
Bonefish & Tarpon Trust's mission is to conserve bonefish, tarpon and permit – the species, their habitats and the larger fisheries they comprise. BTT pursues this mission across the southeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean through science-based conservation, education and advocacy.
MANG was founded in South Florida in 2015 by twin brothers Keith and Kyle Rossin. Born from a passion for environmental restoration with its Buy One. Plant One.® initiative, MANG plants one mangrove for every product purchased. Through analysis of economic and social impact to communities in the U.S. and abroad, MANG seeks out coastal ecosystems deemed to be the most in need for mangrove restoration. It has planted over 312,000 mangroves to date throughout Florida, the Bahamas, Madagascar, Africa, and the island of Guanaja, off the coast of Honduras. The impact of MANG’s efforts translate into 126 acres of mangrove forests restored worldwide, resulting in a $9.79 million ecosystem benefit and the sequestration of more than 882,000 lbs. of blue carbon, otherwise known as the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. MANG’s commitment extends beyond social give-back, as they raise their own mangroves at their headquarters’ MANG nursery, and also lead educational programming for the next generation of Mini MANGs. For more on MANG, visit www.manggear.com/pages/our-mission.
All images copyright of MANG LLC, 2021
Image 1: Volunteers test planting mangroves on Grand Bahama Island
Image 2: Kyle Rossin, co-founder of MANG, test planting mangroves on Grand Bahama Island during hydrologic surveying
Image 3: View of the mangrove devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019
Image 4: Nonprofit partners test planting mangroves on Grand Bahama Island