Watch Fluval’s Francis Yupangco, CRF founder Ken Nedimyer and CRF Board Member Kevin Gaines work to restore a reef in Key Largo, FL.
Fluval is a brand owned by Rolf C. Hagen Inc., the world’s largest privately-owned, multinational pet products manufacturer – a family company driven by the common bond of love and compassion for animals. Hagen’s donation will benefit the non-profit CRF group in creating and maintaining offshore nurseries for threatened coral species.Creator of the popular FluvalSea line of aquarium products, Hagen has already taken a direct interest in the research of coral reefs and their benefits to life on land and off. Coral reefs are often referred to as “rainforests of the ocean” – a fitting term given that these beautiful and highly threatened ecosystems support the most diverse habitats of sea life. It’s estimated that these undersea gardens sustain about one quarter of all ocean life, although they take up less than two percent of the sea floor.
The live coral itself, which is susceptible to threats such as pollution, rising water temperatures, overfishing and destructive fishing, is an integral part of these ecosystems, providing essential shelter for other life. As coral species become threatened, these ecosystems have begun to disappear, affecting not only sea life, but our own food chain. Coral life is also essential to the local Florida economy (where the CRF is based), in addition to national and worldwide economic systems.
To illustrate the severity of the threat, Staghorn coral has experienced a 98% decline in the last 30 years alone, with Elkhorn coral not far behind – declining 90% in that same time. Thanks to generous donations and dedicated volunteers, however, both species are now being grown in multiple offshore nurseries by the CRF, who has helped developed tens of thousands of corals, not to mention outplanted 4,000 Staghorn corals at over 20 reefs throughout the Florida Keys.
“Through extensive research, Hagen has always strived to provide innovative products that connect customers to their pets. As a company, we take pride in creating the most natural and realistic environments for animals, which also meet all of their essential needs,” said Jeff San Souci, Director of Marketing for Rolf C. Hagen (USA) Corp. He continues, “This time, we wanted to take things a step further by giving directly to an organization that plays such an integral role in restoring and caring for an ecosystem in dire need of saving.”
Along with the recent donation of $5,000, Hagen also sent Aquatic Development Manager Francis Yupangco on a dive with the CRF to outplant coral from an underwater tree nursery back into the local ecosystem. Yupangco participated in the dive not only to connect to a restoration group he personally believes in, but also to document the occasion and educate consumers about this critical environmental cause. “The importance of this project isn’t in a single donation or dive – it’s in the knowledge we can share about a substantial threat to a beautiful and essential habitat,” said Yupangco.
Ken Nedimyer, CRF Founder, states, “The Coral Restoration Foundation is very excited to have Fluval on board as a sponsor. Their support will help us replenish an important ecosystem to ensure the survival of many fish and invertebrates. Having Fluval join us on a recent dive goes to show just how committed they are to protecting ocean life, not to mention the enjoyment of the aquarium hobby itself.” MORE