North Bali Reef Conservation is a Non-Governmental Organisation and volunteering program based in the small fishing village of Tianyar on the North East coast of Bali. Tianyar’s reef has potential to be a healthy and highly diverse coral reef but is currently in poor condition due to abusive and unsustainable actions in the past. Until the 1950s the Tianyar beach was a port for traders who used to anchor their ships on the reef. Before, it was also fashionable to harvest coral for it to be crushed into a fine white powder and used to show a families wealth when painted on the outside of their house. More recently, the marine ecosystem is under pressure from plastic pollution choking marine life as well as pressure from local fishermen. An urgent need to protect and conserve the reef was identified and in July 2017 North Bali Reef Conservation was founded by I Ketut De Sujana Mahartana, the founder of Volunteer in Bali Program and Zach Boakes, an undergraduate environmental scientist. Alongside our aim to restore and conserve Tianyar’s coral reef, we also aim to provide an alternative, sustainable livelihood to the local people. North Bali Reef Conservation has since started several environmental and sustainability projects focusing on education, mentality change, no take Marine Protection Area (MPA), pollution reduction, and the construction of artificial reef structures.
As turtle nesting season has finished and hatching season is also coming to a close we would consider our turtle conservation program a success. With over 15 nests relocated to our sanctuary, around 400 hatchings have now made it to the sea which would have been unlikely without some help. The hatchlings themselves have been a useful tool in educating the local children and building empathy for marine life. We hope that next year the news of our program will have spread and so more nests can be saved.
We’ve been really pleased to see the success of our artificial reef structures over the last 13 months. Our ongoing artificial reef monitoring program has shown us that yes, our artificial reefs really are improving marine biodiversity and abundance on an area of previously destroyed reef.
Our varied artificial reef designs provide habitat niches for many fish species (commonly Damselfish (pomacentridae), Butterflyfish (chaetodontidae) and Surgeonfish (acanthuridae) (as seen in this photo)), as well Mantis Shrimp (stomatopoda), Hawksbill Turtles (cheloniidae), Moray Eels (muraenidae) and many more. We are also pleased to see several species of coral already growing on some of our older units.
Last week we woke up to a visit from a local fishermen, clutching a plastic bag filled with roughly 70 turtle eggs. This occasionally occurs as boats are docked along the beach and the eggs laid here would surely not survive in their nest. Instead, we buried the eggs in a more suitable, safer area on the beach outside our centre. With our added cage to protect against dogs we hope these eggs will develop safely and become hatchlings. By our estimations they will hatch some time in early May.
Here in Tianyar we are currently unaffected by Mt. Agung despite being closer than some areas which have been experiencing the ash fall. The wind has been blowing the ash south and this is expected to continue. North Bali Reef Conservation volunteers will remain in Tianyar unless advised to leave by the government. Currently Tianyar is accepting refugees from closer to Mt. Agung into their bale banjar (town hall).
Back in September, 6 students from @Green School Bali came to learn how to build artificial reef structures with us. As part of their @leap academy project they wanted to build their own artificial reef to help the damaged reef recover. They built 10 roti buaya and one fish dome in just four days. The students used their creativity to personalize each structure withunique designs. Unfortunately the students could not stay to witness the deployment of their sponsored reefs.
Over the past week we have been busy deploying 3 fish domes and 30 roti buaya artificial reef structures. Our international volunteer team have been working with the local YBS sustainable fishermen to help with the deployments.
“Volcanic activity in Mount Agung is slowing and the volcano’s status has been lowered from level four “danger” to level three “alert” by Indonesia’s volcanology centre.”
With this level three status the danger zone has been reduced from 12km to 6km away from the crater.
The North Bali Reef Conservation, co-founded by Bournemouth environmental science student Zach Boakes, has had a successful first summer promoting Indonesian marine conservation. Starting the project this July, Mr Boakes had previously spent time in the summer of 2016 teaching drums at a school in the village of Tianyar.