Reef Restoration Project Looking For Help
The Biri Initiative has announced a new reef restoration project, this time in their own back yard. Biri Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the fragile coral reefs around Biri Island, Northern Samar, the Philippines. The organization has received international recognition with some of its previous projects.Their first large-scale project began in 2007, with the deployment of 1,200 Reefbuds each weighting 450 kg near Rosario, Cavite, Philippines. A survey in the world famous white sand beach Boracay in 2012 showed that 90% of the coral reef was dead. An internationally funded project saw the deployment of 5,000 Reefbuds in an effort to restore that reef.
The Reefbuds are the brainchild of the late Austrian geoscientist Dr. Harald Kremnitz and Filipino Benjamin Tayag, Jr. of the local Yes2Life Foundation. Reefbuds combine two materials: concrete (75% by volume) to provide structural integrity, and a specially formulated biomass (25%). The concept was based on a process first developed in Europe, using materials not readily available in the tropics. It was then adapted to make the manufacturing of Reefbuds in the Philippines.
Earlier this year the Biri Initiative announced the 150kg mini Reefbuds and it is these that will be used in the new program. Sadly destructive fishing practices are not uncommon in the Philippines and one of the missions of the group is to educate fisher folks on reef conservation. The reef to be restored has also been attacked by Crown Of Thorns Starfish (COTS). COTS will completely destroy the reef as its primary food is the reef itself. Few fish eat the COTS and those that do have been eliminated from the reef. So the COTS have taken over the reef.
The project will start mass production of mini Reefbuds in February on Biri Island.The deployment is expected to start in March and the project will continue for four to six months. Biri Resort & Dive Center will be the field office for the project. The project will need to drastically reduce the number of COTS on the existing reef before the Reefbuds are put in place. Both the COTS removal and the deployment of the Reefbuds will be dive labor intensive. The Biri Initiative is looking for volunteers for the project and they will offer free diving to those who do. The Biri Resort & Dive Center will extend a 20% discount to those involved.
Richard Ewen, founder of the Biri Initiative has said: "Biri offers some spectacular dive sites and fantastic walls for drift diving lovers. All we ask is that whilst there, you assist with either a deployment of reef buds or a Crown of Thorns clean up in return for free diving."
Divers that are interested should contact the organization by means of their website.