The EmeralPlanet broadcast: “Coral Reefs, The Oceans, and Climate Change”

Our outstanding guests concerning the importance of global coral reefs and oceans are:Segment ‘1’: Marcelian A. Cravat, Director/Producer, Angel Azul Documentary Film, (By Skype)*;

Segment ‘2’: Dr. Thomas J. Goreau, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance and President, Biorock International (By Skype and Telephone)*;

Segment ‘3’:  Marcelian A. Cravat, Director/Producer, Angel Azul Documentary Film (By Skype) and Dr. Thomas J. Goreau, President, Global Coral Reef Alliance and President, Biorock International (By Telephone)*;

Segment ‘4’:  Henri Georges Polgar, Executive Director, PanAmerican – PanAfrican Association (In-Studio) and *(In-Studio Skype/Telephone Back-Up) for Segments ‘1’, ‘2’; and ‘3’.

Angel Azul marks the environmental documentary debut of filmmaker Marcelina (Marcy) A. Cravat who explores the creation of hauntingly beautiful human like sculptures that eventually find their place on the Caribbean Sea floor. The artist is British born Jason deCaires Taylor who bonded with the sea as a boy living abroad in exotic places where coral reefs were his playground. Ocean discovery became his passion and from that grew a deep connection that would define his work as an adult.

Restoring coral reefs through art initiative breathes new life into Senggigi Beach

Sudibyo M. Wiradji, The Jakarta Post | Supplement | Thu, June 05 2014, 2:46 PM

Biorock, Indonesian, Senggigi, art, restoration, marine, habitat
Underwater work: Divers install art structures anchored to the reef rubble under the water (left). Artist Teguh Ostenrik takes part in the work. (Courtesy of Foued Kaddachi)

Underwater installations for an artificial reef park not only attract fish and divers but also benefit locals.

Senggigi Beach in Lombok, one of Indonesia’s emerging tourist destinations, is on its way to regaining it lost heyday as a habitat for shrimp, lobster, squid, jelly fish and other unique marine species.

The beach lost its appeal years ago due to the destruction of coral as a result of human activities and natural aspects. But the underwater world at the beach has now started to show signs of life following the underwater installment of art structures that make up an artificial reef park, also known as “underwater art gallery”.

“Once the art installations are placed underwater and are electrified, fish will come in throngs and swarm around them,” said celebrated local artist Teguh Ostenrik at the launch of the first Artificial Reef Park Lombok at Senggigi Beach recently.

Clad in a swimsuit, the creator of the Artificial Reef Park went on to say, “My dream is how to make a serious art piece useful for others in terms of providing job opportunities.”

“The three-month long project kept Pak Haji (owner of scrap metal workshop) busy preparing the needed materials for the project, with several others engaged in cutting, drilling, welding and so forth.”

With the “ART-ificial reef park,” as Teguh calls it, he expects it to serve as a gentle ocean floor for viewing art while snorkeling and diving among the marine life.

The underwater Artificial Reef Park Lombok adds to the list of biorock reef restoration projects across the world. Two of the largest projects are in Indonesia at Pemuteran in Bali with the Karang Lestari and the Gili Islands in Lombok with the Gili Eco trust. Both Karang Lestari and Gili Eco Trust are actively engaged in restoring and conserving coral reefs.

The inauguration of the eco-friendly artificial reef park took place on the Senggigi seaside and was part of a tourist attraction, enlivening the usually quiet beach.

The crowd’s attention was focused on the remaining scrap metal sculpture as West Lombok officials, represented by local marine affairs and fisheries agency head MS Rohadi R., and Stephane Servin, head of the Lombok Hotel Association, poured coconut water onto it in turns prior to the sinking of the art pieces to the cement seafloor moorings.

Several divers, including Delphine Robbe, reef restoration specialist at Gili Eco Trust, took the art piece by diving toward a designated spot where 15 others had been anchored to the reef rubble the day before. The 7 x 9 meter-reef park weighing around 1.6 tons was connected to a low-voltage electrical current generated by a floating solar panel.

The use of the low-voltage electrical current is not without reason.

“This will cause minerals in the water to form and adhere to the sculpture,” said Robbe, a consultant for the project. “Live coral fragments are then transplanted from other reefs and because the biorock is so similar to natural coral reef material, a new garden grows, often at two or three times the rate of a natural reef.”

According to her, the electrical current is what attracts marine life. “All those artificial reefs using everything from airplanes to ships to old railroad cars have proven to be a disappointment, rusting away and polluting the sea,” she said.

“Sculptures were used in Mexico’s massive Mesoamerican Reef some years ago as an example, but all they seemed to attract were sponges and algae. The electrification is the key. And it is completely safe for swimmers and marine life.”

I Komang Adi Aswantara, solution engineer at Contained Energy that supplied two panels in the initial project, ensured the safety of the sculptures despite the electrification. “The electrical current at the biorocks is very low and it is safe for divers and other marine species. That’s why we use the term ‘low-voltage electrical current’,” he asserted.

The artificial reef park was a collaborative effort of the Lombok Hotel Association (LHA) and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, with support from Indonesia-based Gili Eco Trust.

For the 64-year-old Teguh, the project is closely linked to his diving experience and concern about the changes in the marine environment.

Back in the 1980s when he snorkeled at Senggigi Beach, the beach was known as a habitat for lobster and squid. “I dived at the reef for years for its abundance of shrimp, squid and lobster. I had not been for a few years while in Europe and when I came back, the reef was sadly a lifeless desert,” he said.

The fact inspired him to recreate Domus Sepiae – Latin for house of squid, as a form of remembrance of what Senggigi was once so well-known for. “This project allows me to play a part in revitalizing the lost coral and to do it through my art.”

Small drop in the ocean

Meanwhile, Stephane Servin, general manager of the Sentosa Resort in Senggigi and chairman of the LHA, said the project would have a positive, long-term impact on Lombok’s fast growing tourist industry.

“We can’t pick up and move our hotels when the reef dies,” he remarked. “So, obviously it’s plain common sense to do whatever possible to preserve and protect the natural features that brought visitors here to begin with. And if possible, repair and recreate them using biorock science and at the same time we bring back the livelihoods for so many who relied on a healthy reef.”

According to Servin, apart from destructive human activities, such as bomb fishing, the cause of damage to coral reefs also comes from nature itself, notably El Nino. “El Nino creates high temperature, leading to seawater becoming hot and leaving coral dead,” he pointed out.

The project is a drop in the ocean, but “it is really an integrated program in which there is win-win situation: nature, business and people”.

“With more tourists coming to Senggigi Beach thanks to the artificial reef park, locals can have a new business opportunity of accompanying visitors eager to snorkel in the water around the park.”

Original article URL:

Tourism and Sustainable Coral Reefs

Tourism And Sustainable Coral Reefs
October 5 2009
Global Coral Reef Alliance White Paper

Thomas J. Goreau abc*
a President, Global Coral Reef Alliance, Cambridge, MA, USA
b Scientific Advisor, Yayasan Karang Lestari, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia
c Scientific Advisor, Gili Eco Trust, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia


Environmentally unsustainable tourism has been a major, although localized, contributor to coral reef destruction and degradation, severely impacting ecotourism quality, beach sand supplies, protection of coastlines from erosion, fisheries, and marine biodiversity. Nevertheless, hotels and dive shops could readily apply modern coral reef restoration methods to grow back reefs, providing high quality ecotourism in front of Ray Ban outlet resorts, growing back sandy beaches naturally, restoring fisheries habitat, and preserving marine species from global warming extinction. A large-scale effort by the tourism industry is proposed to make tourism part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. National and international policies are needed to encourage this.

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Sustainable Ocean Management for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

A Vision for the UN SIDS Summit in Mauritius, January 2005

Thomas J. Goreau, Ph.D. President, Global Coral Reef Alliance UN Expert Meeting on Ocean Management in Small Island Developing States, Suva, Fiji, May 2004

1. SIDS depend on healthy oceans All SIDS are intimately dependent on healthy marine habitats for most of their fisheries, protein intake, tourism, sand supply, shore protection, marine biodiversity, and other benefits. Their marine energy resources could provide all the renewable power they need, if it were developed it instead of wasted. SIDS marine resources have been devastated almost everywhere in recent years from combinations of coral heatstroke from global warming, new diseases, land-based sewage and fertilizer nutrients, mud from eroded deforested watersheds, global sea level rise, over-fishing, toxic chemicals on land and in the sea, and direct physical damage from destructive fishing, dredging, boats, anchors, tourists, reef harvesting, and increased storm wave intensity.

2) Our marine resources are quickly vanishing As a result, renewable marine resources are vanishing, endangering food supplies, tourism income, and shorelines. This forces people to harvest species previously regarded inedible, until nothing edible is left, and causes steadily increased fishing pressure on offshore banks and remote reefs, which are the only remaining sources of new baby corals and fish for impoverished coastal ecosystems. These critical nurseries must be protected, not wiped out. The losses are mounting as corals die and we kill the last big wild fish. Future generations will never be able to be sea hunters like their forefathers: they will have to become ocean and reef farmers, or starve. The methods to reverse course and nurture our reefs back to life are already available, but are not being applied on a meaningful scale.

3) SIDS are the first and worst victims of global climate change SIDS are the most vulnerable countries of the world to global warming and sea level rise. Dead reefs cannot protect shorelines or provide fish and beach sand. High temperatures have already killed most corals in many islands, and entire islands are disappearing beneath the waves. The last time global temperatures were one degree C above today’s levels, during the Ray Ban outletinter-glacial period 130,000 years ago, sea levels were 7 meters higher than today, crocodiles and hippopotamuses flourished in London, England, and tropical coral reefs were smashed flat by violent storms. At that time our ancestors did not have the technology for deforestation or to pollute the air and water, and CO2 levels were 30% lower than they already are today. Therefore conditions at that time greatly underestimate the changes we will ultimately see even if no more fossil fuels are ever used, much less if CO2 doubles from fossil fuels in the next generation!

4) Adaptation is essential, it is too late to avoid the impacts of global climate change Even if the entire world were to abandon fossil fuel addiction today these changes would still continue for a thousand years, due to excess greenhouse gases already polluting our air. We URGENTLY need large scale funding to adapt to the changes that are inevitably overwhelming all our coastal resources on land and in the sea. Pretending that these changes are not happening and will go away by themselves is inviting certain disaster. Marine Protected Areas, fashionable and worthy as they are, cannot protect corals from the major factors killing them, increasing global warming, new diseases, and land based pollution. Reefs in MPAs are full of dead and dying corals and increasingly barren of fish. Fish populations and diversity will not recover if the habitat is so degraded that it can no longer support the variety and numbers it did in living memory.

5) Restoration is essential to maintain ocean resources Without large scale restoration of degraded habitats to make them capable of supporting larger fish and shellfish populations, there will be few or no fish in the future. Without healthy growing corals, there will be no beaches or tourism income, and in many cases, no islands. Restoration of degraded reef and coastal habitats on a scale that makes a difference must be the number one environmental and ocean management priority of SIDS, not an afterthought. More conventional management will not restore reefs and fisheries without active large scale programs to grow them back: our ecosystems are under such increasing strains that they can no longer recover naturally the way they used to. The damages will rise dramatically unless we apply new methods to grow corals faster and make them more resistant to environmental stress.

6) The technology already exists to restore reefs and fisheries and protect shorelines New Biorock technologies developed in SIDS and applied in around 20 islands increase coral growth rates 3 to 5 times, increase coral survival under lethal high temperatures, pollution, and mud by 16 to 50 times, keep corals alive where they would die, grow reefs where corals cannot recover naturally, create lush ecotourism and fisheries habitats, even denser with fish and shellfish than normal reefs, and turn severely eroding atoll island beaches into growing ones in a few years at a fraction of the cost of concrete or stone breakwaters and with vastly greater ecological benefits. Large scale research and training programs are critically needed to train SIDS students, fisherfolk, and tourism interests to apply the new coral reef and fisheries restoration technologies on the scale needed for sustainable fisheries, tourism, and shore protection.

7) The technology already exists for large-scale ocean energy production in SIDS Ocean currents and temperature gradients contain a vast storehouse of power that is completely untapped. The tidal currents running like clockwork through the reef passes of all Pacific and Indian Ocean islands could provide all their energy needs plus enough to export, if only they would apply already existing turbine and thermal energy technology that languishes undeveloped and unapplied where it is most needed. A tiny fraction of these vast renewable energy resources would be enough to grow coral walls around islands that keep pace with rising sea level and provide mariculture of fish and shellfish without external food inputs, and to grow new islands. A crash program of sustainable marine energy development is needed now in SIDS.

8) SIDS must develop their own capacity to solve their problems SIDS will be hit with a tidal wave of environmental change in coming years and decades that will dwarf anything we have ever seen, and for which we are now wholly unprepared. We will have to evolve or drown. The technology already exists to grow our way out of these crises using local sustainable ocean energy, only if we have the seriousness to develop it. It is time to stop copying incremental and outdated solutions that have failed elsewhere, and develop our own capacity. We have allowed our “development” to be determined by international aid programs that are largely irrelevant, and not based on long-term wide-scale, functional understanding of the changes that have taken place or serious analysis of what is needed to solve them. They do not reflect what we want our islands to be!

9) SIDS Leaders must take the lead funding sustainable development in Mauritius SIDS need to work to create their own solutions and not await the random drift of “expert” overseas consultants peddling “solutions” that have not worked. An immediate effort is needed to develop SIDS research, development, and training institutions to refine these new technologies and apply them on the large scale needed for sustainable ocean and coastal management and a better quality of life for our people. This is our only way out, short of emigration. We call on all SIDS heads of states at the UN Summit in Mauritius to urgently pursue major new international funding for this effort. Our children and grandchildren cannot afford a business as usual approach. Future generations will not forgive our leaders and international funding agencies if they fail to grasp the opportunity to build sustainable SIDS ocean management in Mauritius.