Thousands of New Homes for Fish in Buleleng

Six villages in Bali’s north coast are building thousands of artificial structures to grow new coral reefs. Each new reef is a home for fish and other marine animals to find food and raise their young.

Les Village, Tejakula includes two sites for the Indonesia Coral Reef Garden (ICRG) program, which is part of the government’s new social economic recovery (PEN) in the marine sector.

Residents start their day’s work by lining up at the front desk of the LINI Aquaculture Training Center (LATC) LINI staff check the temperature of residents that will work as reef structure builders, giving masks if needed, and checking the attendance list.

The list needs to be signed twice, in the morning and afternoon after lunch.

Residents working on the structures then go to their designated area. Nyoman Surana works in the fishdome production area. A semicircular structure with holes in its surface Each fishdome can be used by little fish as a shelter from predators. The holes are small enough to ensure predators are blocked from entering.

“The construction of this structure is very useful, it’s a fish house, but in the past, the holes were bigger,” Surana said, observing the latest fishdome made by his team. Larger holes, he remembers, allowed scooping nets to enter domes and catch ornamental fish.

Risana has been an ornamental fish catcher since he was a teenager and remembers when fishermen used a bomb or potassium to stun fish to catch them . He recalls using ‘potash’ for about 10 years until he was 25 years old.

After intervention by NGOs and environmental activists in the 1990s, fishermen abandoned destructive fishing practices, switching to using nets and freediving.

Around the time, fishermen also realized the potential of making coral transplant structures like fishdomes. Surana is able to compare as he stopped working as an ornamental fisherman in 2011, turning to construction work and is now involved again in making coral structures.

“Most of those who join are fishermen because they are the ones who take care of them,” he replied about residents involved in ICRG.

Each structure is built by two people, and Surana is supervises the fishdome unit. His daily target is 4 structures, using an iron net that is provided for him to simply patch with cement.

One of the young workers on the site is Made Juli, who has participated in the construction of 25 rotibuaya structures. “It’s not often I participate in making a fish house,” he says.

The construction of structures in Les Village Site 1 is under the coordination of Made Partiana, The leader of Mina Bahari Fishermen Group. He carefully monitors each assignment, counting the result, and coordinating workers. LATC’s whole yard is filled with structures.

As well as the fishdome and rotibuaya structures,, residents have decided to add clownfish-shaped statues, called ‘Nemo’ because of the movie. This fish is one of many that has been successfully cultivated in LATC.

Yunaldi Yahya, the ICRG Program Coordinator in Buleleng, from the LINI Foundation, said residents were enthusiastic to join the program because of the impact of the pandemic, such as the lack of demand for ornamental fish. LINI was also affected by the absence of visiting students, especially from abroad, which provide operational income from accommodation at the LATC. Through Air BnB Experiences, the LATC would typically attract guests for education and conservation programs, as well as eco field trips.

Each structure will be plunged to a depth of at least 10 meters. “If it’s less than that it could be destroyed by the current,” said Yunaldi. The materials have enabled residents to build structures in various shapes, such as earth pegs, fishdome, rotibuaya, and fish statues.

He welcomed every village to be creative whilst following the requirements for each structure to be a maximum height of 1.5 meters and 1 meter wide.

Update of Reef Restoration Research in the LATC

Update of Reef Restoration Research in the LATC

We are very pleased to know that our reef restoration program continues receiving technical support from various institutions. In September 2019, M. Abrar, a coral scientist from Research Centre for Oceanography – the Indonesian Institute of Science, and Prof. Dr. Bert Hoeksema from the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leyden visited and dived at the sites. M Abrar assisted us in identifying natural coral recruitment on our coral restoration sites. 

A group photo before diving with M. Abrar (left), Prof. Dr. Bert Hoeksema (middle) and our instructor Yunaldi (right)

Since January 2019, with support from the CORAL Alliance, we have been monitoring natural recruitment of hard corals on the surfaces of the fishdomes and rotibuaya, and survivability of coral fragments tied to the ‘hexaframes’ (metal frames coated in sand, originally called “spiders”). We will continue to study and monitor our reef restoration with support from our interns and community conservation groups from the Tejakula sub-District area. 

12 months after the coral tied on hexaframes (Photo: Yunaldi and Nyka)

In January 2020, our long-term supporters, Colin Christian and Louisa from Fishkeeper Scotland, came to visit and helped in deploying new artificial reef structures. Since June 2019, Colin has developed an “Adopt a coral” program to support our reef restoration efforts. Their support has contributed towards our monitoring and expansion of the program.

Colin Christian and Loisa visit the LATC (Photo: Yunaldi)
Intern Rim and Chevien planted coral for adopt coral project (Photo: Yunaldi)

We continue seeking help from others who would like to support our program. We also encourage students to contact LINI if they are interested in our program, because they will not only learn about reef conservation, but also connect with various stakeholders who come to our Centre. We believe that every effort we make to find solutions to help to preserve the marine ecosystem requires strong connections among all the people involved.

Gearing up to expand our internship program in 2020

Gearing up to expand our internship program in 2020

We started our internship program in 2016, with our aquaculture of marine reef fish and reef restoration in the LINI Aquaculture and Training Centre (LATC), at Les village in North Bali. The program is dedicated to offering Indonesian fresh graduates from fisheries, marine science, aquaculture backgrounds the chance to experience working on a wide range of fisheries and marine conservation issues. Interns will stay at the Centre for at least three months, although many of them extend their internships.

To date there have been 22 interns who graduated from the LINI internship program, with work experience covering captive breeding of the Banggai Cardinalfish, clownfish, preparing green-water and rotifer plankton cultures, building artificial structures for reef restoration, and monitoring the mortality and recruitment of corals on the structures. 

Recently, we expanded our internship program to include our organic garden and education. Amel graduated from Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, and Ade from Udayana University, Bali, during the period of September – December 2019, and they both took part in this new program. Amel learned about organic gardening, and Ade helped in educational outreach in the local schools at Les village.

The aim of expanding the program is to explore a wider range of activities for interns in the Centre, and also to help the local community. In 2020, we plan to offer the internship program not only in our Centre in North Bali but also at our field project site in Banggai Island, Central Sulawesi and in Banda Islands in Maluku. Stay tuned for the next news from LINI. We wish you all a happy prosperous new year! 

Amel (left) and Ade (right) helping each other to make the Centre green (photo: Nyka)
Ade and Amel attaching some information posters (photo: Nyka)

Reef Restoration Research in the LATC

Reef Restoration Research in the LATC

It is nearly a decade since we started helping the community of Les village in North Bali to restore their damaged reefs. Since January this year, we are offering opportunity for Indonesian students to conduct research on our reef restoration site in front of the LATC. To date, we have had two students who conducted their research at this site for their undergraduate thesis. They are Ali from Jakarta and Chevien from Purwokerto, Central Java. Both of them are now writing their thesis on coral growth and mortality on the artificial structures.  Iqbal from Jendral Soedirman University – Purwokerto, is currently looking at fish biomass on different types of artificial reef structures.

From left to right, Ali – Chevien – Iqbal were collecting data for their thesis (photos: Yunaldi)

Our reef restoration program has also attracted much interest from international students. In July 2019, two students from Sussex University in UK, came to volunteer and learn in our reef restoration monitoring program. The students were Aimee, who learned to identify the coral species that colonized the artificial reef structures, while Tash was learning to observe fish biomass in the Fish Dome clusters.Both National and International students were provided with guidance from our experts, and they also learned to scuba dive for scientific purposes, and about safety diving. The students have had the opportunities to meet and network with our partners during their stay with us.

Group foto with our visitors in July 2019, Richard Vevers from the Ocean Agency, Mika Peck and Alice Elridge from Sussex University – UK, and students from UK and Indonesia
(photo: Wayan)
Aimee (left) and Tash (right) were learning how to collect data in our reef restoration site (photos: Mika Peck and Eveline)

We encourage students to contact LINI if they are interested in our program, because they will not only learn about reef conservation, but also connect with various stakeholders who come to our Centre. We believe that every little effort we make to find solutions to help to preserve the marine ecosystem requires strong connections among all the people involved.

2018 – What we have achieved in working with coastal communities at our field sites?

2018 – What we have achieved in working with coastal communities at our field sites?

The year 2018 is nearly at an end. Looking back at the last three months, we have been busy at our field sites, North Bali, Banggai Island (Central Sulawesi), and the Banda Islands (Central Moluccas).

The North Bali project continues to add more artificial reef structures onto the house reefs of the LINI Aquaculture and Training Centre (LATC). This year we deployed over 200 structures (fish domes and rotibuaya). These artificial structures have created new habitats for reef fish, and provide hard substrates on which new soft and hard coral larvae can settle, attach, and grow. Over 60 Indonesian and International high school students, 10 University students from the US, Australia and UK, and 12 Airbnb volunteers participated in the making of these artificial structures.

Through collaboration with the coastal community of Tejakula sub-District and the CORAL Alliance, the LINI team will start the community monitoring of the artificial structures in January 2019. The reef restoration monitoring will include coral recruitment, growth of the corals, and fish diversity. Indonesian students are invited to further study the marine environment by participating in this monitoring. 

We have been doing some interesting community-based work on the octopus fisheries in the Banggai Islands, Central Sulawesi, supported by the Blue Ventures —with some notable achievements, particularly in establishing a Foundation for community-based fishery management, and collecting the data needed to support management decisions. In early October 2018, two villages (Popisi and Paisumosini) in North Banggai sub-District, jointly agreed to temporarily close a 385 ha octopus fishing area of reefs around Asasal Island for three months. The purpose of the temporary closure is to increase the numbers and weights of the octopus caught during the rest of the year.

This November, together with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), MMAF, the Fisheries office of Banggai Laut District, and the Banggai community, we conducted population monitoring of the endangered endemic Banggai cardinalfish at 16 sites. Seven sites showed declines in Banggai cardinalfish populations. Further studies are needed to find out more about the causes of these population decreases.

Our work in the Banda Islands with the Banda tuna handline fishermen progresses well, with port sampling landing data continuing to be conducted to support the development of a harvest strategy for yellowfin tuna in the Archipelagic waters of the Western Pacific. In August this year, we installed 5 time-lapse cameras on five boats to capture the fishing activities of the handline fishers. One of the purposes of using these cameras is to understand the impact of the tuna handline fishery on endangered, threatened and protected species such as sea turtles, dolphins and seabirds while fishing for tuna. The work remains exciting as we continue to assist the fishery to be ready for full assessment for MSC certification next year.

This year we are securing a new partnership with the Coral Alliance for our community reef restoration project in North Bali, and we will receive new funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to support our work on the development of community-based conservation and management of coastal resources around Banggai Island in Sulawesi.

We wish you all the very best for the New Year!