It is frustrating for some person if you have spent your time, money, sweat, and put your trust to join in an act to restore the coral reef, but the coral is not growing well, or worse, they disappear! It would be even a night mare if you happen to be the organizer, or the donors of a “Fun Dive and Transplant Corals Together to Restore the Coral Reef”. You pray hopefully that the coral will grow fast miraculously in one night before you need to take picture for updates, or hope even everybody forget about the updates, or the event.
So what is going wrong until you deserve the frustration and nightmares?
1. Wrong objectives
When you do an event of coral restoration, it should be an additional event on existing restoration project. The restoration event could not stand alone without serious project, especially in a new location, since restoration takes a lot of phases, not just a single day event. If you insist to have separate single day event, go ahead, but do not name it coral restoration.
2. Wrong method
There are several methods of coral growing. Some of them are claimed succeed in growing the corals in a few months, even scientifically proven. But is the method you chose, having proven projects on restoring coral reef? Is the method you chose, appropriate for your location and objectives? It is worth to contact a coral reef restoration expert to get their opinion, even if in the end, you choose not to work with them.
©Biorock Indonesia/ Komang Astika
3. No maintenance plan
If you haven’t notice. Corals are living things, and most of them could not move freely. These living things constantly receiving threats from destructive fishing, pollution, rich nutrients, sewage, and bad tourist (Yes, it could be you or someone you know). When you transplant a coral to substrate, and leave them with a hope that mother earth is going to nurture them, unfortunately you’re the one killing them. Freshly transplanted corals are fragile and even more prone to threats. You need to have local team that will nurture the corals, act as maintenance team, after you leave the corals alone and back to your snuggly cozy bed.
4. Not involving local community
Even if you try to do the restoration out of community access, the locals know the location better than you are. Without proper engagement, there is possibility that the expensive project you already built with 12 months of fundraising and 3 months of preparation, will be gone in just a single night. Who else to complain, if you look like doing weird things in somebody else’s backyard?
©Biorock Indonesia/ Gili Eco Trust
5. Lack of experience
So, you think you know it all by reading journals, articles from internets, and follow the YouTube tutorial or general lecture from famous professor, and… you decide to do it by yourself. It sounds like you never step your foot in the kitchen, or even taste the meal, but you read everything about the recipe of making “Stuffed Turkey”. Can you imagine the result?. To avoid the painful frustration (again), you can just actually write e-mail to an expert, ask their opinion, or simply enrolling their class. Who knows that you might develop new ideas or giving them your point of view. What about that?