Following the success at Pemuteran in the north-west of Bali, where an entire “lost” Balinese village was sunk to revive its degraded coral reef environment, Bali is now replicating this along the Amed Beach in the south-eastern coast of the island.
On Tuesday, 28 May, a sculpture of a Balinese mermaid sponsored by the Body Shop in cooperation with the Marine Foundation and Reef Check, Indonesia, held a ceremony to sink the mermaid to a depth of 10 meters. This is the third such sculpture sunk at Amed Beach following the Ganesha (god of wisdom in the shape of an elephant), and Hanoman (the monkey god) sculpted by Ketut Kepel, a local sculptor.
On the occasion, I Gusti Agung Prana, pioneer of the coral reef rehabilitation project at Pemuteran, winner of the UNDP Equator Prize 2012, and founder of Yayasan Karang Lestari explained that in 1990 the coral reefs at Pemuteran were in a very sorry state indeed. Mangrove forests were decimated and coral reefs destroyed by fishermen bombing the reefs, resulting in the slide of the local economy.
Today, after the sinking of the artworks and the ensuing preservation of the reefs, Pemuteran has attracted more tourists who come here to enjoy the beach and to dive, attracted to see the “lost” underwater village. Pemuteran now counts more than 300 hotel rooms and has homestays with more than 100 rooms. Fish catch has surged significantly from only a few kilograms to a few tons. This is because the environment of the coral reefs has greatly improved.
“Restoring coral reefs needs hard work to convince locals that such efforts will in the end benefit not only the environment but also their incomes”. I Gusti Agung Prana, therefore, calls on the community to work together, for it is in everyone’s interest to guard the marine ecosystem creatively.
One of such means is to combine the natural environment with artistic creations. In 2011 a statue of the Goddess of the Reefs, was sunk and placed at Pemuteran using Biorock techniques to accelerate coral growth. While the mermaid that was recently sunk along the coast of Amed is made of cement with a neutral acidity to become the base for more rapid coral growth and to attract renewed fish life.
(Source: Kompas daily)
Photo Courtesy by The Marine Foundation
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