Mars coral reef restoration empowers Indonesian islanders

The multinational food, beverage and confectionery company Mars, Inc. recently announced the completion of one of the world’s largest coral reef restoration projects off the south coast of Pulau Badi Island, in southern Indonesia. Located just 20 kilometers (~ 12.5 miles) from a Mars cocoa processing plant on the neighboring Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the Mars project also includes the creation of a new marine protected area and the development of ‘a local industry in which tropical ornamental fish are raised.

Part of the Coral Triangle, the tropical coral reefs and eastern Pacific Ocean waters surrounding Pulau Badi and Sulawesi are recognized around the world as home to the richest marine biodiversity on the planet. Unsustainable fishing practices, such as the use of dynamite and cyanide, have devastated vast swathes of coral reefs and associated fish populations, depriving local residents and communities of food and nutrition, as well as resources. subsistence.

Spanning an area of ​​7,000 square meters (~ 75,347 square feet), the project included the installation of more than 3,000 “specially constructed innovative structures on which coral fragments grow to rehabilitate and re-establish native fish populations,” said Mars Symbioscience in a press release. The realization of the multifaceted project was the result of a collaborative effort on the part of the island community, Mars Sustainable Solutions, itself a member of Mars Symbioscience, and employees participating in the Mars Ambassador program.

Restoration of coral reefs and local livelihoods

Fish and fishing have long been the mainstays of life on Indonesian islands, providing essential food, nutrition and livelihoods. Destructive fishing practices, such as the bombardment of fish with dynamite and cyanide fishing, have decimated the coral reef of Pulau Badi and associated fish populations and led to erosion of the island itself. same.

Mars ‘Pulau Badi Project is rebuilding and reviving what had long been the ecological foundation of islanders’ lives and livelihoods. In addition to installing underwater structures for coral reef rehabilitation, Mars Sustainable Solutions staff and Mars Ambassador program participants have worked hand-in-hand with islanders and the local community to replace fishing practices. destructive through sustainable practices and develop alternative economic models. These include the breeding of seahorses for the global aquarium trade and the breeding of abalones for local consumption.

Combining coral reef restoration, marine conservation and sustainable development, the completion of the project “will help meet the long-term security needs of the people of Pulau Badi and provide income opportunities, enabling them to catch fish for lucrative local and international markets, ”emphasizes Mars. .

Commenting on the project, Dr Susan Williams, professor at the University of California at Davis and its Bodega Marine Laboratory, said: “I have observed this project on Mars over the years and am not aware of anything. this magnitude.

“The beauty is that the technology is more easily transferable than other reef projects I have seen. Corals grow very quickly, perhaps because the technology is based on a simple structure that does not provide much shade. corals or does not prevent the flow of water around them, allowing them to thrive.

“Rebuilding the coral reef ecosystem is necessary for the local population, but also holds the promise of improving ecological and economic sustainability for the future of the region.”

Added Muhammad Natsir Sulaiman, Head of Pangkep Marine Affairs and Fisheries Department:

“This work has literally brought the island community and the Badi people back to life, which can serve as a model for other islands. the livelihoods of our people.

“We thank the Mars team who have been an invaluable partner to the people of Sulawesi and we will work hard to ensure that the future of the reef not only survives but thrives.”

Check out the Mars Symbioscience website to learn more about the company’s efforts to promote and foster ecological sustainability and sustainable local livelihoods, as well as the 3p coverage of Mars’ investment in a wind farm at the scale of Mesquite Creek in Texas.

Image credits: 1) & 3) Mars; 2) The Atlas of the Coral Triangle

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