28 May Reef Star Heroes In-Depth Training in the MARRS Method
Bontosua Island, a six-hectare island that can be reached in 40 minutes by boat from Makassar, South Sulawesi, was very lively in the morning. The island is part of Pangkajene and Kepulauan (PangKep) Municipality. The island came alive as villagers gathered at the coast, yelling loud cheers before they started tying coral fragments onto Reef Stars. These villagers have been major contributors to the thousands of coral fragments tied to the spider-like steel structures that have been planted around the area, including the recently celebrated HOPE Reef. The Reef Star, the key component of the method officially known as the Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) was developed by Mars Incorporated (Mars Inc.). Reef Stars are essentially hexagonal, sand-coated structures to which coral fragments are attached.
CTC’s Coral Reef Restoration Task Force, which includes participation from the Nusa Dua Reef Foundation (NDRF), just returned from a successful in-depth training session with Mars, held from May 21st to 28th 2021 at their base in Makassar. Aside from accomplishing theory and assessment sessions, the Task Force team also went through a detailed process, starting from Reef Star production at the steel workshop in Makassar to the coating workshop in Barrang Cadi Island, as well as experiencing the implementation process first-hand. The process started with tying coral fragments onto Reef Stars with the lively villagers of Bontosua Island, then transporting the Reef Stars to the boat and shuttling them into the water to build the underwater ‘web’.
During the training, we managed to install 300 Reef Stars in the area assigned by Mars. The team also got the chance to visit the HOPE Reef and see the significantly restored reef in the area. The whole process from production to installation of Reef Stars was no small feat, but the team was always in high spirits, and the cheerfulness of the villagers and Mars Team were clearly infectious!
These fully trained Reef Star Heroes will conduct site visits to several areas in Bali that have successfully implemented the MARRS method and scoured areas in need of resilience-based management to be restored. We’re always ready to inspire people and save the ocean!
Photos by Marthen Welly/CTC & Kasman/CTC