On 23rd June, Kokomo Private Island’s Marine Biologist, Cliona O’Flaherty, was awarded the “Sustainable Practices Champion” award at the prestigious Women in Travel Awards for her contribution to ground breaking advancements in sustainable practices.
In a ceremony hosted at Doltone House, Hyde Park, the Women in Travel Awards acknowledges exceptional women in travel, across all disciplines, and celebrates the inspiring and innovative actions displayed by trailblazing women throughout the industry each year.
Entered into the Sustainability category, the award recognised Cliona for her contribution to sustainability in the travel industry, her future ambitions and commitment to sustainable practices at Kokomo Private Island.
Cliona has implemented an array of sustainable initiatives over the past year, including establishing a Coral Restoration Project, introducing a Seabin Project, and the ‘Adopt a Dive Site’ with Project AWARE. Other achievements include enhancing and progressing Kokomo Private Island’s existing Manta Ray Identification Program and furthering the resort’s Dock to Dish sustainable fishing program.
Cliona O’Flaherty, Kokomo Private Island’s Marine Biologist, said, “It's such an honour to win this award and to be recognised at The Women in Travel Awards for delivering and innovating in an area that I’m so passionate about. I’m immensely thankful to Kokomo Private Island for funding and supporting my endeavours to preserve the surrounding marine ecosystem, to ensure it continues to thrive”.
Many of the sustainability initiatives Cliona has implemented at Kokomo Private Island are interactive practices, allowing guests the opportunity to partake in activities to learn and understand the importance of conserving one of our most vital natural resources.
Sustainability initiatives outlined:
Kokomo Coral Restoration Project
In March 2018, the “Kokomo Coral Restoration Project” was launched, focusing on restoring coral reefs back to natural health and increasing the survivorship of reefs that are battling against global warming. This program is primarily run by Cliona, with substantial support and interest from the management team and larger marine department. The program involves selecting special heat resistant corals and fragmenting them into smaller pieces.
These pieces are then placed in a coral nursery for 6-8 months until they are ready to be transplanted back onto the house reef. Guests and staff have opportunities to participate in flagging, fragmenting, planting, maintenance and transplanting. Achievements include having over 150 staff and guests participate in the program, planting 1,200 corals into the coral nursery and transplanting over 200 corals back onto the house reef.
In October 2018, Kokomo launched its first “Seabin Project”. Seabin’s are floating bins that were created by Australian surfer, Pete Ceglinisky. The Seabin processes 25,000 litres of seawater per hour, removing trashand micro plastics, and filtering chemical pollutants such as oil slick. These bins can attach to jetties, marinas and even large boat vessels. To date, the project has been very successful and is the first of its kind in the South Pacific.
Manta Identification Project
Throughout 2018, the Manta Identification Project at Kokomo has been tremendously successful. Kokomo makes conscious efforts to help preserve and protect Manta Rays which are ranked as “Vulnerable” under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List. Kokomo collaborates with the “Manta Trust” which is one of the largest international organisations focused on protecting mantas. Cliona is responsible for educating guests and staff about Manta Rays and offering first-hand experiences, snorkelling with mantas and capturing photographic images for identification.