The Indonesian government is setting course to build coral reef gardens in five locations across Bali in hopes of conserving and restoring marine ecosystems around the island, as officials aim to also boost economic recovery through the project’s labour-intensive work.
Officials introduced the Indonesia Coral Reef Garden (ICRG) program just yesterday, with Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo saying that “active efforts” are required to restore coral reefs ecosystems in Indonesia.
“Later on, the coral reef garden is not just an underwater tourism attraction, but also an educational or research facility,” Edhy said.
“We are also hoping that the program can serve as a leverage for economic recovery among coastal communities through its labor-intensive concept that would empower Balinese coastal communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he continued.
As a whole, the current plan is to develop a 50-hectares coral reef garden which would be split into five locations in Nusa Dua, Sanur, Serangan, Pandawa, and Buleleng. Officials have set aside IDR111 billion (US$7.5 million) from the national economic recovery program (PEN), and are targeting as many as 11,000 workers to get involved in the project.
These gardens will serve as sites to transplant coral, and officials say they are working with researchers and academics in order to further develop ICRG.
Bali Governor Wayan Koster has reportedly welcomed the plan, noting how he has yet to consider the potential of a coral-reef program like this.
“This is a potential I have yet to consider, it has never been managed well with adequate policies, and it has not been utilized to foster economic growth for the people of Bali,” Koster said.