At 8am, near from the iconic dolphin statue of Lovina, in Buleleng Regency, six stalls could be seen at a construction site for coral transplant structures. Workers at each stall were ready, including those tasked with transporting sand and cement from the goods area. Young and old people could be seen, following the Balinese tradition of ngayah: working together during traditional and religious events.
Ketut Artini is a merchant who previously sold fabrics to tourists on Lovina’s beaches. “It’s been very deserted since March”, she said, remembering the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Lovina is popular among tourists and merchants here would typically sell various items, like snacks and drinks.
Today, residents who became unemployed are working on the beach with ropes and bamboo poles, building fishdomes lined up on the beach.
Kaliasem village has been quick to make preparations for the program. According to Kadek Fendi Wirawan, the village’s coordinator, over 250 residents are involved, including tourist transport fishermen, workers who have been laid off, returning migrants and construction workers. An oceanographer, Fendi graduated from Diponegoro University (Undip) and lives in Kalianget. He has participated in ICRG since an earlier survey, and was invited to join LINI in the middle Buleleng team.
The village has built coral structures include the fishdome, crocodile bread (rotibuaya), and earth peg (pasak bumi / pasak besi) shapes, as well as designing other shapes. Fendi joked, “There’s already dolphins living here, so no need for other statues.” He proposed a terracota statue of Panji Tisna, a writer who introduced the term Lovina.
According to Fendi, almost all the coastline has coral ecosystems but the cover varies between 30 and 60 percent. A popular snorkelling site is about 500 meters from the beach and used by tourist transport fishermen, who invite tourists to see dolphins in the nearby sea.
He says the code of conduct for dolphin watching attractions is difficult to implement, because tourists want to be close to dolphins, such as for getting social media content. As a new initiative for the community, the program to conserve coral reefs is very useful. The target for building structures in Kaliasem village is around 162 fishdomes, 290 each pegs, 300 roti buaya, and 200 spiders. Over 50% has been completed as of mid-November 2020.