The Blue Project’s 2023 Recap of Activities

Year in Review: The Blue Project's 2023 Recap of Activities

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

Throughout 2023, the Blue Project has worked tirelessly on various activities to promote ocean conservation. In this post, we will provide a recap of the activities that we have accomplished. From monthly beach clean-ups to coral restoration efforts, school visits, community collaborations, webinars, and more, we have made significant strides in our mission to protect and preserve the ocean.

Monthly Beach Clean-up and Dive Against Debris

One of our recurring events is the Monthly Beach Clean-up and Dive Against Debris, which occurs every fourth day of the month. Before diving, we dedicate approximately 30 – 45 minutes to cleaning the beach in the coastal area of Padangbai. As of December, we have collected a total of 146.94 kgs of debris, including plastic cups, fragments, cigarette butts, lids, and other non-degradable materials. After the beach clean-up, we proceeded with the dive against debris at our adopted sites, the Jetty and Blue Lagoon area. So far, we have removed 162.325 kgs of debris from small pieces to the giant debris such as ghost fishing net. Plastic materials such as fragments, cups, and packaging are the most common debris.


Installed 45 Reef Stars and Coral Monitoring

In March, in collaboration with Livingseas, we installed the first twenty reef stars for coral restoration. Over the following months, we continued to install fifteen more reef stars on April and 10 units in May. bringing the total to 45 reef stars by May. Each reef star is planted with coral fragments (Acropora branching) and we have successfully restored 810 coral fragments.

Three School Visits at Local Schools around Bali

In 2023, we were privileged to visit three schools in Pejarakan (Buleleng), Gianyar, and Kuta to raise awareness about the ocean. In Pejarakan, we focused on the mangrove ecosystem and waste management due to the proximity of the environment to the mangroves. In Gianyar, our primary emphasis was turtle conservation and how waste can impact the ecosystem. Our last school visit was in Kuta, where we educated students on proper waste management, as the school is near our office.


Community Collaboration with Mangrove Nusantara and Saba Asri

To promote environmental awareness among students in Pejarakan Buleleng, we collaborated with Mangrove Nusantara to develop an engaging educational game to inspire the younger generation to become stewards of the ocean. This year, we also collaborated with Saba Asri Sea Turtle Conservation to provide some of the kids with an unforgettable experience by releasing sea turtles on Saba Beach.


Webinar: Spreading Conservation Message

We organised a series of webinars on Zoom to expand our reach and engage more individuals in our conservation efforts. We invited renowned marine biologists, conservationists, and ocean enthusiasts to share their valuable work and insights. Through these webinars, we aim to create a community of passionate individuals dedicated to preserving our marine ecosystems.

MARRS: A Revolutionary Technique for Restoring Coral Reefs

MARRS: A Revolutionary Technique for Restoring Coral Reefs

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

The Innovative Approach to Coral Reef Restoration

Coral reefs face numerous threats due to climate change, pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and human activities. As a result, scientists and conservationists have been actively searching for innovative solutions to restore and preserve these invaluable ecosystems. Various techniques have been developed to increase coral cover on degraded reefs. However, scaling them up to large projects has proven challenging. However, one method that has shown promise is the Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS).


AMD-B MARRS Structure Installation

Uncover the Educational Benefits of the MARSS Technique

The MARRS system consists of hexagonal-shaped structures known as “spiders” or “reef stars.” These structures are made of reinforcing steel rods coated with resin and coral sand to create an environment that encourages corals and other marine organisms to settle. The modular design of the MARRS system allows for flexibility in constructing artificial reef substrates that conform to the contours of existing reefs’ topography.

This restoration method is particularly effective in reef areas dominated by rubble, where the constantly shifting substrate hinders the settlement and growth of baby corals. The reef stars stabilize loose rubble and provide a platform for rapid coral growth and the development of a complete reef ecosystem. The success of the MARRS method has been demonstrated in the MARSS project on Badi Island of Spermonde Archipelago, Makassar. Within just three years, this heavily degraded area transformed into a thriving coral-dominated ecosystem. The live coral cover on the structures increased from less than 10% initially to over 60%, depending on depth, deployment date, location, and disturbances. Furthermore, this restoration site witnessed a threefold increase in fish population and a twofold increase in fish biomass.


AMD-B MARRS Structure

AMD-B’s Story

At AquaMarine, we have also adopted the MARRS method in our mini reef garden. This year alone, we have installed 45 reef stars and 810 coral fragments, contributing to the restoration and conservation of coral reefs. The MARRS system represents a significant advancement in coral reef restoration, offering a low-cost, rapid, and scalable solution. However, it is crucial to address the root causes of coral reef degradation, such as climate change, pollution, and unsustainable fishing practice, for long-term conservation.

The Mars Assisted Reef Restoration System (MARRS) is a game-changer in coral reef restoration. By providing a rapid and scalable solution, MARRS offers hope for the preservation and recovery of these invaluable ecosystems. However, it is essential to recognize that MARRS alone is not enough. We must raise awareness, support conservation efforts, and take individual actions to reduce our ecological footprint.


AMD-B Coral Reef Restoration Partner

How does Plastic Pollution Impact the Health of Coral Reefs?

How does Plastic Pollution Impact the Health of Coral Reefs?

by Mardia, AMD-B’s 2023 Divemaster Internship

Plastic Pollution Poses a Significant Threat to Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are not just a beautiful sight to behold. They are living, breathing ecosystems that support a vast array of marine life. Despite covering only 1% of the sea floor, coral reefs are responsible for 25% of all marine life. They also play a crucial role in protecting coastal areas and providing employment opportunities to thousands of people in the fishing and tourism industries.

Nevertheless, coral reefs worldwide are currently under threat. The World Resource Institute projects that local human activity, global warming, and ocean acidification will threaten over 90% of the world’s reefs by the 2030s.

Plastic pollution is among the greatest threats to coral reefs, particularly concerning coral disease. According to a study conducted by Lamb et al., published in the Journal of Science, they observed that the prevalence of infection in corals was merely 4% in the absence of any interaction with plastic debris. However, introducing plastic to the reef significantly increased the disease rate, reaching an alarming 89%, representing a twenty-fold escalation.


Removing the Entangled Sack on Coral

Impact on Coral Disease

Pathogens that frequently cause disease outbreaks on coral reefs can be found in plastic pollution. Additionally, when plastics come into contact with coral tissues, they can physically harm and abrade the coral’s delicate surface. As coral tries to heal itself, plastic debris can introduce bacteria and make it expend more energy on its immune response. Moreover, plastic waste can smother the coral, covering its surface and obstructing light and oxygen. This condition can lead to anoxic conditions that favor the formation of polymicrobials and lead to black band disease.

Adopting sustainable practices and addressing plastic waste management is paramount in safeguarding these vital ecosystems. By reducing plastic pollution, we can help preserve coral reefs and ensure the well-being of marine life for future generations.


Broken Sea Fan because of Fishing Net