Locals Affected by the Pandemic Contributed to Coral Reef Restoration on the Coast of Bali

The pandemic has made the tourism industry in Bali sluggish, and so have the people who depend on it. Tourist destinations that were previously full visitors are now deserts. Ketut Arini, a cloth trader around the coast of Bali, said that it has been very quiet since March.

Fish dome structures (Source: thejakartapost.com, Courtesy: Yayasan LINI)

Last November, a group of villagers gathered around an iconic dolphin statue in Lovina, North Bali. The locals perform a traditional and religious volunteer activity called Ngayah. Both young and old generations are involved in this activity

They built a media structure for planting corals by lining the coast using bamboo ropes and poles. This activity is part of the biggest nation’s coral reef restoration program.

As reported by thejakartapost.com, one of the participants, Kadek Fendi Wirawan, said that 250 people were directly involved including tourism workers who lost their job during the pandemic, returning migrants, and others.

The pandemic directly or indirectly affects coastal communities, who depend on the tourism sector for their livelihoods.

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The Bali Central Bureau of Statistics recorded that foreign tourist visits in the April-June 2020 period decreased by 87 percent.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, tourism growth has slowly declined. The fishermen are in danger of experiencing a decline in export figures.

A survey conducted by The Indonesian Diving Entrepreneurs Association (PUSI) on 152 tourism entrepreneurs shows that about a third of the total has stopped operating.

The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries fully supports the revival of the marine tourism sector through Indonesian Coral Reef Garden (ICRG) project. This project involved around 10,000 people from various backgrounds, mostly from the local tourism industry.

The project aims to empower workers affected by the pandemic and also to improve the management of coastal ecosystems for the sustainability of tourism activities in the future.

Lack of tourists due to the pandemic is an opportunity to improve the environment.

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In the project, at least five coastal areas were selected and facilitated by three NGOs. Those areas are Buleleng, North Bali (LINI Foundation), Sanur and Serangan (Kebun Koral Foundation), Nusa Dua, and Pandawa (Indonesian Shellfish and Ornamental Fish Corals Association).

This project, which started from October to December 2020, was conducted on a budget of Rp. 105 billion, or the equivalent of US $ 7.46 million. The target is to construct 95,000 artificial structures on an area of ​​74 hectares.

Various stakeholders from the local to national level are involved in the project. TB Haeru Rahayu, Director General of Marine and Fisheries Resources Management, stated that the next important step is maintenance and monitoring.

She hopes the maintenance and monitoring capacity is evenly distributed across the project, not only focusing on one particular area of the project.

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