A sponger from Little Abaco spoke about sponge harvesting that is making a comeback on Abaco. Donald Rolle of Mount Hope makes his living sponging, fishing and guiding and told about his work to an interested audience during the Art for the Park event at Abaco Beach Resort on January 25.
Donald explained that there are about 60 different types of sponges found here. They come in a variety of colors, size, shape, height, from six feet high to one and a half inches high. The biggest is the loggerhead sponge that grows to size of a 55-gallon drum.
He collects mostly six types of sponges. They must be cut carefully, leaving the base in place. The base will regenerate if left undisturbed.
The fisherman must clean the sponges before selling them to a buyer – a process that takes four to five days. This involves leaving the sponges to dry, then putting them back into sea water, a process that is repeated several times before it is clean. Mr. Rolle receives $5 to $7 per sponge while they eventually sell for about five times that amount.