Supporting coastal communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to restore coral reefs in North Bali

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit Bali Island very hard since the island relies so heavily on tourism. The island has been almost empty of visitors since March, and thousands of Balinese struggle to make ends meet. The Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries are providing a financial stimulus by giving income opportunities for people, including fishers, to build artificial reef structures and restore reefs in five locations around the coastline of Bali, including the reefs in Buleleng, Sanur, Serangan, Pandawa and Nusa Dua.

The plan is to restore 50 Ha of damaged reefs in a program lasting several years.

Today, we are starting the program with its introduction to local stakeholders in East Buleleng, as well as providing training on the concept of reef rehabilitation, and how to build various artificial reef structures, with almost 50 people attending the event. Hundreds of communities who lost their incomes because of COVID 19 are not yet familiar with building artificial reef structures, so this is an opportunity for them to learn.

We at LINI are very excited to be part of this program. Together with our community partners and the Government of Buleleng, the plan is to involve over 1200 people along the coast of Buleleng – North Bali to install artificial reef structures at 6 sites, and rehabilitate 4 Ha of damaged reefs.

This project will no doubt face challenges, including the coming rainy season. However, we are excited and positive, knowing that many disadvantaged people will be able to earn a living by building the structures, and by restoring the reefs on which so many depend!

The coral farmers and exporters will also take part in the Government’s plan. They will contribute by providing their expertise, and by giving propagated corals for replanting on the artificial structures.

We will provide regular updates on the progress of the project! Please stay tuned!

By Gayatri Reksodihardjo-Lilley