A new marine park and conservation effort in Bondalem village

Over 3000 coral structures are being built for a new marine park by Bondalem village in Buleleng regency. The Indonesian Coral Reef Garden (ICRG) project is supporting the construction of these coral transplant structures at a site of unproductive land near the beach, and the coastline is popular among visitors for marine tourism.

More than 250 Bondalem residents are involved in the project. Their usual work has been disrupted by the COVID pandemic, including employees sent home by their employer, cruise ship workers unable to travel, as well as farmers, drivers, and fishermen among others. The coral structures they have built have several shapes, including the fishdome, crocodile bread (rotibuaya), earth peg (pasak bumi / pasak besi), and various original designs, including artists wearing masks while playing traditional instruments (megambel). Creativity of Buleleng’s residents have been a feature of the project, which has been carried out simultaneously in 6 villages.

There are even 47 mines pulling statues. Ada Maja from the Prawara Maritime conservation group said that the mine removal statue was a village history archive because around the 1940s there were stranded mines that were pulled by residents to the mainland.

“Tourism is a bonus. If it damages it will not be approved, like the pontoon anchor,” he explained during a discussion with other residents at a temporary post. Currently, the dominant type of tourism is retreat or yoga with a long length of stay.

Tourism activities such as snorkeling, diving, glass-bottom boats, and fishing are located 100 meters from the beach. Creating this coral structure isn’t a new thing because it has been done several times before like in 2008 the dominant coral growing was Acropora.

Mangku Widi, the village conservation leader, was previously detained in Southeast Sulawesi when fishing ornamental fish with potassium. He then turned into a community marine guard (Pokmaswas) with others who patrol through the Bondalem Beach.

Like other coasts, in the past, corals reefs were mined for building materials and prestige lime. Residents and conservation activists hope the government will also make a budget for maintenance funds after the structures have been submerged. This will ensure the structures are well maintained and can be overgrown with coral.

The village is now arranging for the creation of a place to learn about coral cultivation. Other plans are to continue the village effort to support one of the schools’ diving extracurricular activities and training the younger generation to be conservation team members and reliable dive guides.