Most marine organisms seek out shelter.
But sadly the growth of coral has been shown to be impeded by overfishing. That’s right; removing too many fish alters the reef food web and corals are squeezed out by seaweeds. Living corals all over the globe are now being lost at 1% each year and that has been going on for the last 40 years.
A sad example of the impact of man on this devastating relationship is found on the reefs of S.E. Asia where 80 percent are now endangered and fish stocks are collapsing. Fisheries estimates in Malaysia indicate that more than 90 percent of the resource has been taken. The World Development Report 2010 - Development and Climate Change, shows that rebuilding fish stocks can both improve resilience to climate change and increase economic returns to the fishing industry by US$50 billion per year.
Other artificial reef structures included discarded ships, trains, and rubble. Of those reefs that seemed to be working, most have remained barren.
Reef balls provide a place for other organisms to settle.
Molds for the artificial reef modules under construction.
Not only did the interested parties want to restore fish stocks and enhance coral growth; they wanted to draw the community together to protect and manage their marine resources into the future.
First prototype (shown upside-down) after removal from the mold.
While the project is on the brink of its official launch, interest is already being shown by environmentally active organisations in other parts of Malaysia. The launch will be held at the Andaman Resort and coincide with World Ocean Day (June 8th) and Coral Triangle Day (June 9th). Extensive media coverage is planned.
"Business as usual isn't going to cut it," said Peter Mumby (Univ. of Queensland). "The good news is that it does seem possible to maintain reefs -- we just have to be serious about doing something. It also means that local reef management -- efforts to curb pollution and overfishing -- are absolutely justified. Some have claimed that the climate change problem is so great that local management is futile. We show that this viewpoint is wrongheaded."
A line borrowed from the 1962 “Lawrence of Arabia” is used again in the film “Prometheus” when David referring to evolution says, “Big things have small beginnings.” For the sake of future generations and this little blue planet, let us all hope he is right.