16 Aug United in Restoration: Collaborative Spirit in the World’s Biggest Reef Restoration Event

As we descended into the ocean, mesmerized by the peaceful beauty of the underwater world – it was suddenly interrupted by the muffled echoes of underwater bomb explosions. The sound traveled and vibrated through the dense waters, reaching our ears during the dives. This brought us back to reality, reminding us of challenges currently faced by our planet…

Coral reefs, vibrant underwater ecosystems that harbor unparalleled biodiversity, have faced alarming degradation in recent years due to human activities and environmental challenges. The pressing need to restore and preserve this invaluable ecosystem has led to many coral reef restoration efforts in Indonesia, and it has led to a groundbreaking initiative: “The Big Build.” Mars Sustainable Solutions (MSS) initiated the biggest coral reef restoration event with the theme “In Indonesia, By Indonesia, and For Indonesia” in a unique collaborative nation-wide invitation to coral reef practitioners made up of an assembly of governmental bodies, community groups and private sector representatives. 

The event kicked off on July 10 at the Swiss-Bellhotel Makassar with the participation of notable figures such as Muhammad Yusran Lalogau, the Major of Pangkep; Professor Jamaludin Jompa of UNHAS; Corra Mustika of the Directorate of Conservation and Marine Biodiversity; and Professor Dave Smith, the Chief Marine Scientist of Mars Incorporated. 

Two representatives of the Coral Reef Restoration Task Force of CTC (Eureka Amadea and Kasman) joined the event from July 10 to 14, 2023 in the waters of Bontosua Island, Makassar. Diving into action, the CTC Task Force team members joined 47 other divers from all over Indonesia in installing 2,000 Reef Stars (RS) underwater over the course of three days. We got a chance to revisit a block of 300 RS installed by the CTC Task Force Team in 2021 at the HOPE Reef, and we were happy to learn that the baby corals have grown into large, healthy colonies. Aside from coral reef restoration activities, the event also focused on fostering stronger bonds of partnerships among Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) practitioners across Indonesia. 

Discussion around coral reef restoration followed the closing event on July 14, and led to invitations to pool our ideas together to tackle challenges currently faced by our reefs, including fish bombing. We hope that through this event, Indonesia will be a leading example that sparks an even broader collaboration across the globe. The HOPE Reef was a great symbol that reminds us that our courage and combined actions can overcome any challenge. 

Writers: Eureka Amadea, Marthen Welly
Photos: Eureka Amadea/CTC, Kasman/CTC, Mars Sustainable Solution

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