INDONESIA, Manado Tua Island, North Sulawesi - November 2002
Reef rehabilitation project
Manado Tua Island is a towering extinct volcano fringed with picturesque reef drop-offs and capped with a rainforest at its summit. The island's 3,200 inhabitants form a very tightly-knit community of farmers and fishermen who cling tenaciously to their Sangir cultural traditions. Large sections of Manado Tua's coral reef have been reduced to rubble fields due to blast fishing activities that took place over a decade ago. With Seacology's assistance, Manado Tua villagers have installed EcoReef modules, snowflake-shaped ceramic modules that are designed to mimic branching corals, providing shelter to fish and a surface for larval corals to build a new reef. In return, villagers have expanded their current "no-take" reef zones to include five acres of reef containing the EcoReef modules. USAID's Natural Resources Management Project and dive operators from the North Sulawesi Watersports Association did all the coordination and installation of EcoReefs for this project.
UPDATE July 2004 - The ceramic modules were installed in January 2004 after three weeks of cooperative efforts between villagers and dive operators in the face of rough sea conditions. In March, Seacology's co-field representative Mark Erdmann visited the site with villagers and divers. They found that the strong currents in the area had allowed for the establishment of coral recruits, coral transplants and fish to occur two to three times faster than originally expected. After only two months, the modules were completely covered with carline algae, bryozoans, serpulid worms and a number of baby coral recruits. A large diversity of fish moved in as well, all in an area that had been barren only three months before.
UPDATE January 2005 - In August 2004, a Seacology delegation visited Manado Tua to mark the official opening of the EcoReef reserve. There are now up to 56 newly-recruited coral colonies on each ceramic module with individual coral recruits up to inches in diameter. Schools of fish numbering in the thousands have now returned to the area and can be seen feeding during high current flow. A DVD of the construction, installation, and underwater progress was recently completed and distributed to villagers, who are pleased with the rapid progress in the first year.
UPDATE July 2005 - After about 18 months of growth, project team leader Mark Erdmann reports that coral transplants are now covering large sections of the modules, live coral have formed bridges between modules, and other species are actively growing in the area, including large sponges, several giant clams, and lyretail groupers. The community remains very pleased with the progress of the EcoReef project.