Maldives - reef transplantation:
In 2022 we worked together with Coral Mission in the Maldives in a project that is rather uncommon for us. A private land owner was allowed to build a landing strip at the cost of hundreds of square meters coral reef. Coral Mission wanted to transplant the corals and asked us for technical and financial support. Of course, we are not in the business of cleaning up the mess of rich land owners and/or wrong decision-making by local governments. However, the amount of corals we were able to safe was enormous and a ‘big win’ (read ‘less loss’) for nature.
With our help more than 1.400 coral colonies were transplanted from Maamgilli reef to a new area 2 km further away. But more importantly, the project started negotiations with the government. To prohibit these practices seems to be a long way on the Maldives but Coral Mission succeeded to lay the groundwork for a law in which the responsible parties can be held accountable for the impact on the reefs and are obliged to pay for transplantation.
Sukadana (Bali), newly protected marine area:
The ultimate success in our work is when an ecologically significant marine area is granted protection. In 2021, the fishing community ‘Kerthi Buana Segara’ of Sukadana village asked for our help in preserving their coral reefs. After assessment of the reef we concluded that the corals were in relatively good condition but there was a considerable lack of fish. Mid 2022 the village agreed to create a no-fishing zone for the reef area that is within their jurisdiction. To mark this area of around 250x100 meters, we deployed several buoys. We decided to use our artificial reef structures as anchors. Besides the anchoring, the structures will function as substrate for coral. This first area is relatively small but the ‘pilot’ will be used to persuade the bordering villages to join and protect their reefs as well in the coming years.
Kenya, fish gear exchange Mida Creek:
In the ecologically important Mida Creek near Watamu, a project to exchange unsustainable fishing gear was started last year with local partner Bahari Hai. The use of (illegal) monofilament small mesh size nets and mosquito nets is widespread. These nets catch marine life indiscriminately, from juvenile fish to bycatch of sharks, turtles and rays. It took some convincing and sensitizing sessions by Bahari Hai but the first 2 villages have swapped their old gears for new, more sustainable ones. An anti-poaching team has been established by the fishermen, guided by their historical indigenous knowledge.The 6 other villages in Mida Creek seem willing to follow. We hope to exchange their gears later this year.
See you again in April!