Reefsave Inc

Do Something Now - Make a Difference

aka Reefsave.org   |   MIAMI, FL   |  ReefSave.org

Mission

Conduct research, educate the public, train volunteers, and implement strategies that protect Atlantic & Caribbean reefs from loss of marine life through practical implementations that create self-sustaining economic benefits for local participants that promote long term reef health through projects.

Ruling year info

2018

President

Sal Delello

Main address

9020 SW 59TH ST

MIAMI, FL 33173 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-4344295

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Fisheries (D33)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (K05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Invasive Lionfish are the fastest growing invasive species affecting the U.S.A. that has ever been recorded by N.O.A.A. The Indo-Pacific Lionfish where introduced in the late 1980's around the time of Hurricane Andrew, and probably the result of flooding of aquariums during the hurricane. The species has no predators in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea, have voracious appetites, and can throw 20,000,000 eggs per female per year. They occupy a range from ocean shallows to over 800+ feet in depth, from Rhode Island to Brazil, the entire coast of every country in the Gulf of Mexico, all of Central America and every Caribbean Island. N.O.A.A. now concludes that eradication is impossible, but believes that an effective removal program could restore balance. This has led to the slogan attributed to NOAA. "If you can't beat'em, then eat'em".

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Lionfish Trap Testing & Education

The lionfish trap testing project will clear the bottleneck now preventing commercial harvesting of invasive lionfish in the U.S.A. Then repeat what works throughout the affected regions, creating new jobs for fishermen who remove invasive lionfish. Conduct public education concerning safe handling of lionfish and consumption of invasive lionfish as a human food source. Work to increase demand for lionfish and provide support for a new lionfish industry throughout the affected regions.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our mission is to develop a self-sustaining system to consistently remove lionfish that is simple, inexpensive and can be easily duplicated throughout the affected region.

Lionfish can be effectively removed from specific targeted areas through spearing by SCUBA for periods of time. However, this also tends to drive the “hunted” lionfish deeper and deeper.

We plan to do this by developing lionfish harvesting and trapping as small businesses in underdeveloped countries, building a local market for lionfish, and educating local communities about the difference between “Venomous” and “Poisonous” and how they are personally affected by these environmental issues.

As Sir James of Bequia proclaimed about ReefSave, “We are taking a problem and turning it into a resource”.

When people can make money catching and selling lionfish as food, the removal of lionfish will be consistent and self-sustaining.

The concern over trap failure issues put a halt on further expansion outside of St Vincent and the Grenadines (Bequia Island) due to concern that if the trap failed, fishers who might participate could reject the trap and ReefSave as being trustworthy. They expect the traps to simply work.

Our goals include to be at the forefront of knowledge concerning effective removal systems of the invasive lionfish and to teach what works and be a source of information for those interested in or participating in the programs.

To achieve our goals ReefSave is dividing its efforts into two directions: Research & Testing; and, International Deployment.

TRAP BUILDS and TESTS
We are working directly with Dr. Steve Gittings, NOAA, in furthering the development of the "purse trap". This design is patented by NOAA so that is available for the public to use without a licensee which corresponds to ReefSave’s goals of bringing this technology to the underdeveloped world as a new business and food source. ReefSave has an L.O.A. from NOAA with Dr. Gittings for testing the purse trap and derivatives and modifications in U.S.A. waters in North Carolina and Florida. Our focus will be obtaining another permit for "test fishing" with the traps in these same waters.

TRAP BUILD EVENTS GO MOBILE - in the U.S.A. with the development of a portable hitch mount rebar bender. The participates become trained and can follow a curriculum to become TRAINERS for international deployment.The traps they build are used for field tests in the U.S. (Under the exisitng L.O.A.) and for "test fishing" in those same waters. Donations from participants (Event Admission Fees) or the "Travel Dive Shop" help to pay for the cost of materials and expenses to do the Trap Build.

INTERNATIONAL DEPLOYMENT
The first PARTICIPATING DESTINATION DIVE SHOP, Serenity Dive, hosts a periodic but regular lionfish fish fry that Vaughn Martin has proven is profitable. The use of the "Vacation for a Cause" program will send volunteers to catch lionfish, help the participating dive shop financially and educate the diving public who participate in the program. ReefSave returns to St Vincent to further assist Mr. Martin with development techniques, behavioral patterns, implementing a "Harvesting" program as an alternative to "Hunting".

TRAVEL DIVE SHOPS in the USA book to the location where the Participating Destination Dive shop will run the ReefSave Lionfish "Harvesting" itinerary. Participants can just have “fun dives” or get involved with catching and counting lionfish and helping with the catch for the lionfish Fish Fry.

Developing the "Lionfish Fish Fry" allows for immediate removal by SCUBA with any lionfish retreat to deep water leading them into the purse traps provided by ReefSave in exchange for data collection and cooperation in fishing methods.

The international deployment mission is not stalled during further trap testing in the U.S. under the L.O.A. obtained from N.O.A.A. with Dr. Gittings.

ReefSave has an L.O.A. with Dr. Gittings for testing the purse trap and derivatives and modifications in U.S.A. waters in North Carolina and Florida. Our next focus will be obtaining a permit for test fishing the traps in these same waters andgetting access to boats from which we can run tests on the traps.



Trap Build Events will go mobile with the development of a portable hitch mount rebar bender, and those traps will be used for testing in U.S.A. waters. The participates become trained and can follow a curriculum to become trainers for international deployment.

Our goal is to obtain participating destination dive shops to host Reefsave Lionfish Harvesting Events and create "Vacation Packages" for SCUBA travel.

Travel dive shops in the USA book to the location where the ReefSave itinerary is run. Participates can just have fun dives or get involved with catching and counting lionfish and helping the participating dive shop stock up for the consistent but periodic lionfish Fish Fry.

The participating destination dive shop hosting a periodic but regular lionfish fish fry works and is profitable.

The use of the "Vacation for a Cause" program will send volunteers to catch lionfish, help the participating dive shop financially and educate the diving public who participate in the program.

The biggest limiting issues are:
(1) Covering some of the costs for the volunteers in international deployments. - Trained volunteers are far more efficient than learning when you get there. However, many experienced volunteers can not afford multiple deployments. Most volunteers are willing to absorb a substantial portion of the costs as well as volunteer their "Vacation for the Cause", however, being able to reimburse a fixed portion of expenses for a certified "Trainer", after the volunteer task work is completed, would dramatically increase the expansion rate of the program;
(2) Deep water trap testing requires boat access, fuel and variable costs, an underwater drone and other equipment that can be used to observe and study at depths beyond the safe limits for SCUBA volunteers.
(3) Sufficient income to hire a small staff, implement a CRM, update the website, get training videos into production.

These affect the rate of expansion of the program.

Our initial project in 2018 selected Bequia as the test destination due to its limited availability of resources. (If it can be done there it can be done anywhere) At that time we also studied the 14 day soak time interval for the purse trap. That period of soak time was never studied in the past and it represents the most critical periods for fishers.

We successfully demonstrated that the traps could be hand built on location. ReefSave made over 150 SCUBA dives on the traps. At the end the lionfish caught were cooked in a local restaurant and given away for free to the public in an educational "Open House". This permitted Reefsave to address the educational component for the local population: Lionfish are "venomous" not "poisonous". A widespread issue that prevents locals in many locations from consuming lionfish

Our tests revealed failure points in the trap design and use that had not been discovered in previous tests.

Our Second year focused on dealing with: trap failure issues; simpler design; and cost reductions by hosting three "Trap Building Events".

At these events Dr. Gittings and groups of ReefSave volunteers, built a new version of the lionfish trap: A "No-Weld" Purse Trap. (Saving $60 per trap compared to the 2018 Bequia build) ReefSave also built a special rebar bender for a more than 360-degree bend by hand of #4 rebar. (Commonly available material at remote locations)

These builds also trained international volunteers for experience in building, testing and using the traps.

ReefSave demonstrated a full scale live version of the No-Weld trap at 2019 Beneath the Sea. This was the very first "Public" demonstration of a full scale Lionfish Purse trap and its operation for the general public.

Reefsave also created and trained volunteers for the ReefSave "Trapping the Terror" presentation at the DC Dive show as well as similar presentations to various dive clubs and events in N.Y., Virgina, North Carolina and Florida.

June 2019 Bequia the volunteers built the bender and 3 no-weld traps on location, met with local fishermen and a decision was made to entrust the traps to Vaughn Martin, the owner of Serenity Dive in St Vincent that becomes the first participating destination dive shop.

ReefSave must now focus on “proof of concept” using the Lionfish Fish Fry model whole testing and improving the trap and studying behavior to increase catch rates.

The longer-term goal is to prepare for local expansion of the Fish Fry to multiple locations in St Vincent, increased catch rates, lower per fish costs. Following Mr. Martin's existing and successful model, expansion of the fillet and freeze method, prepare for expansion to local supermarkets and eventually a possible new product for export to other markets.

In 2020 all of our fund raising events and projects were cancelled through September 2020. At this time (31 MAR 2020) we hope that the travel and distancing restrictions are lifted before our NOAA permit expires.

Financials

Reefsave Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Reefsave Inc

Board of directors
as of 3/31/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Sal Delello

Reefsave Inc

Term: 2018 - 2023


Board co-chair

Corey Krosley

Sal Delello

Reefsave Inc

Corey Krosley

Reefsave Inc

Ola Callander

Reefsave Inc

Marc Moran

Reefsave Inc

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/31/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/31/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.