U.S. shipbuilder Metal Shark, based in Louisiana and Alabama, has partnered with the Bahamas National Trust to support the preservation of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park.
Metal Shark will support the park’s full-time staff and volunteers by providing boats, technical assistance, and funding to support research, conduct wildlife inventories, and patrol the park’s waters to guard against poaching and to prevent damage to the ecosystem, according to the company.
“The waters and islands of the Exumas are near and dear to all of us fortunate enough to have spent time there with our families and friends,” Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard stated in a company press release.
The park, managed by the nonprofit BNT, was created in 1959 to protect the second-largest coral barrier reef in the western hemisphere. It spans 176 square miles in the Exumas, a chain of more than 365 islands called “cays.” As the Exumas have become increasingly popular with tourists and developers, increased vessel traffic, dredging, and the development of nearby cays threaten the park’s fragile ecosystem.
“Vessels of interest to the BNT range from patrol boats for fisheries enforcement to customized landing craft for habitat restoration, mooring maintenance, and other projects,” stated Dean Jones, Metal Shark’s VP of sales for law enforcement, fire rescue, and specialty projects.
In addition, Metal Shark has launched a crowd-sourcing campaign to help support the park’s needs.
For more information, visit metalsharkboats.com/exumacays.