Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Sunday, December 15, 2013
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Companies donate to reef research

Some businesses are putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to protecting coral reefs.

Five companies are donating a portion of their sales to Mote Marine Laboratory's efforts to research and restore coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

Fury Water Adventures is donating 50 cents from every ticket it sells for its snorkel trips to the reef. Fury and Mote officials celebrated in Key West -- with Fury owner Scott Saunders handing over an oversized check to Mote -- after Fury raised $21,750 from March 1 to Sept. 30.

Bombora Vodka is donating 50 cents of every bottle sold of its regular brand-name vodka and $1 of its more top-shelf vodka, Cooranbong. The vodka is available at all Publix grocery stores and 17 Key West bars and restaurants, said Jason Wolf, who oversees the business partnerships with Mote.

Reef Safe & Reef Babies Sunscreen is donating 2 percent of its sales to Mote, Wolf said. The firm of William A. Becker Associates, which handle BP oil spill claims, is giving $25 from every claim it resolves. Woodroze Sustainable Eco-Eyewear is donating a $1 for every pair of sunglasses it sells.

"It's a great way to give back," said Saunders, whose company brings anywhere from 50 to 500 people a day to the reefs off Key West. "The health of the coral impacts all of the businesses in the Keys. We are all dependent on the health of the reef."

Saunders believes in Mote coral nurseries and restoration projects.

"It (restoring the reef) is doable," he said. "The work they are doing is unbelievable ... . We know it works and we want to be part of the solution."

Mote has a history of being creative when it comes to raising money for conservation, while at the same time developing technology for sustainable aquaculture. In 2006, Mote became the first group to harvest caviar in Florida.

Mote produces high-quality sturgeon and caviar that's been served in many fine restaurants in Florida. Mote's Sarasota facility operates the nation's largest recirculating research facility for marine and freshwater aquaculture.

"Funding for science and research has declined in recent years," Mote spokeswoman Nadine Slimak said. "Mote has tried to be entrepreneurial when it comes to fundraising."

tohara@keysnews.com

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