From Jakarta Globe: North Bali Finds a Shocking Way to Replenish Its Coral
Science is giving the coral reef in Pemuteran, north Bali, a jolt. But
don’t worry, it’s low-voltage direct current meant to bolster growth and
reverse decades of destruction caused by reef bombing, cyanide fishing
and global warming.
“Pemuteran right now is a popular scuba
diving destination because its marvelous array of corals have created a
haven for the ocean’s most colorful fish,” says Bramantyo Samodra Sier,
head of marketing and promotions at Divemag Indonesia, the country’s
most popular diving magazine. “But in the past it has been devastated by
the bombing or cyanide fishing methods used by the many fishermen
attracted to Pemuteran’s tranquil waters. Ruining the corals puts the
whole underwater ecosystem at risk and that’s why Divemag Indonesia is
so concerned about saving the corals.”
Using technology to help nature
by marine scientists, Biorock is a process that uses low-voltage direct
current electricity to grow solid limestone rock structures in the sea
and accelerate the growth of corals.
Biorock projects can be
found all over the world, including in the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian
oceans, but the Biorock project in Pemuteran, installed in June 2000
and stretching 300 meters situated in an area of two hectares, is the
largest Biorock center in the world.
But being the world’s biggest Biorock project isn’t cheap.
Luckily, ANZ Bank pitched in and helped give Pemuteran’s Biorock a financial boost.
Each steel structure costs Rp 5 million ($519) and ANZ’s corporate social responsibility program has donated four structures.
great to see companies willing to use their corporate social
responsibility program to focus on Biorock,” said Tom Goreau, the
Biorock co-founder, who was in Pemuteran on the day the ANZ-sponsored
structures were installed. “With Biorock, the corals succeed to grow up
to 50 times faster and can recover from physical damage.”
who also serves as president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, is now
focused on training local people about Biorock to ensure the structures’
“Local people need proper detailed training so
they can keep developing and maintaining the program. It’s the key to
keep the Biorock project successful,” he said. “That’s the reason why we
often have workshops and the next one is going to be from Nov. 12 to
operational manager of the Biorock center, said word of the structures
is spreading, and tourists are traveling to north Bali to see if
electricity can really grow coral reefs.
“Bio rock is attracting
tourists from all around the world,” Komang said. “Snorkeling and
diving have been two of the most popular activities for tourists coming
to Pemuteran. There are at least 50 tourists who come to Pemuteran every
week just to see the Biorock.”
One of those tourists is Sue Dufall, a 51-year-old Australian who has visited Bali on numerous occasions.
first time I came to Pemuteran was just for sightseeing, but as soon as
I found out about the Biorock I became passionate about it,” said Sue,
who is planning to move to Bali when she retires. “I’m thinking about
contributing to the Biorock by donating a structure. I love the
atmosphere here, it seriously is a piece of paradise.”
Lending a helping hand
Indonesia, which is helping spread the news about Biorock to domestic
divers and tourists, is excited about helping ANZ with their project.
excited about supporting ANZ’s initiative,” said Wening Nurtiasasi, a
project liaison between Divemag Indonesia and ANZ. “The main purpose of
Divemag is to let as many people as possible know about Biorock and how
it is helping the environment here in Bali.”
ANZ is also very proud of their work to help restore the coral reefs.
are very supportive of these kind of projects, first of all, because we
care about nature,” said Wira Budi Hartawan, ANZ regional head of
eastern Indonesia. “Also, I believe that if we preserve more locations
such as Pemuteran, it can help attract more tourists.”
And now everyone with a passion for the sea can contribute to the Biorock project.
Rp 5 million, you can purchase a 2-meter-square structure, which you
can design yourself, and two years of maintenance on the structure.
who have designed their own structures have certainly been creative and
now structures in various shapes from bicycles to goddesses can be
The coral growing on the structures are certainly a beautiful phenomenon that can’t be missed.
you don’t have to buy a whole structure. And for a Rp 350,000 donation,
the Biorock team will put your name on a structure.