Once damaged, coral reefs take well over a century to grow back – and they’re being damaged at an alarming rate, both by natural phenomena such as tsunamis and by humans. Coral reefs (aka “the rainforests of the sea”) worldwide are among the world’s most endangered ecosystems.
The years prior to 1991 saw a lot of bad mojo at work around Bunaken and Manado Tua. For decades, fishermen bombed the reefs with dynamite, or squirted them with sodium cyanide, to net large harvests of fish that surfaced. Low tides forced local boats to anchor amid the fragile corals, and dive boats (not to mention clumsy divers) wrought havoc as well. Storms reduced already weakened corals to rubble.
If the regrowth of natural reefs can’t be accelerated, the ecosystems surrounding them can. Berkeley-based Seacology is installing ceramic EcoReefs reef replacement systems — ceramic “snowflake” modules “that are designed to mimic branching corals.”