ABC Radio Australia Interviews the Fish Reef Project

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Could artificial reefs be the key to rejuvenating fish stocks and marine life?

By Evan Wasuka on Pacific Beat

The community of Fisherman Island outside of Port Moresby is using modern technology to rejuvenate the sea floor and improve local fish stocks.

They’re using a artificial, or purpose-built reef, made from special concrete that encourages fish and marine life to develop.

The first reef units were put in place in May and Dr Wilfed Lus of Reef Fish says the early results have been promising.

“When the current hit the reef unit, they caused a lot of upwelling, with nutrients moving back up to the surface we see a lot fish coming to feed on it,” Dr Lus said.

Fisherman’s Island supplies Port Moresby’s main fish market and entered into an agreement with US-based NGO Fish Reef in 2016.

The community agreed to stop dynamite fishing and in return, the project has been able to set up artificial reefs.

Fish Reef’s CEO Chris Goldblatt says PNG is a good environment for artificial reefs.

“There is no coral bleaching in PNG… [that] makes it unique. It has one of the highest level of biodiversity in the world …there is a population that really respects having healthy oceans,” Mr Goldblatt said.

Reef Fish is keen to now take its technology to other parts of PNG and Melanesia.

Duration: 4min 32sec

Broadcast:

Fish Reef Project Helps Halt Dynamiting of Fish

Captain’s Log: Fish Reef Project Helps Halt Dynamiting of Fish at South Pacific Island

There are rare and wonderful moments when actions have such monumental conservation impacts that it warms my heart and I must share the story.

One such story just came to fruition and may serve as a viable and readily accepted methodology for achieving great strides in conservation gains throughout the oceans of the world.

In 2016, Fish Reef Project surveyed the seafloor and met with tribal elders on a small island off the capital of Papua New Guinea called Fisherman’s Island.

More than 5,000 men and women live on the island and fish to feed themselves and supply fish to the capital. Some years back, they began to use dynamite to stun and catch fish, a practice common in the South Pacific region. The result is often fish depletion, dead coral and occasional loss of human life.

Fish Reef Project signed an agreement with the tribal elders of Fisherman’s Island whereby the Santa Barbara-based nonprofit promised to make them new reefs if they halted the use of dynamite.

“Three years later we kept our word and to our pleasant surprise, so did the fishermen. We deployed new reefs around the island to give coral and fish new places to thrive,” said Chris Goldblatt, Fish Reef Profject founder and executive director.

For the first time in history, an effective tool to stop dynamite fishing has been put into practice, but it requires working with fishermen rather than demonizing them.

It requires accepting them as they are and embracing the fact that they just want to go to work, and feed themselves and their families, and it is only with their help that can we achieve ocean health.

“Fish Reef Project is a rare bridge between all sides, as our only focus is a healthier ocean that we can all access for our own organic, local and sustainable supply of marine protein,” Goldblatt said.

My feeling is, this kind of agreement with fisherfolk worldwide, where specialized reefing is developed and deployed to enhance overall marine life, in exchange for commitments to practice sustainable fisheries, is something we can all support for the good of the world and the good of the hungry people of the world.

Contact Fish Reef Project through its website www.fishreef.org to offer your support for worldwide and local projects.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Fish Reef Project interviewed on EMTV in PNG

Fish Reef Project Interviewed on EMTV in PNG

 

Papua New Guinea will have the ingenuity of an American reefing project to build artificial reefs to save the marine inhabitants in the country from being further depleted by over fishing. The Fish Reef Project, based out of Santa Barbara in the US, has come to PNG to share their expertise at making purpose-built reefs. The first rehabilitation site will be Fisherman’s Island; an island about ten kilometers off-shore from Port Moresby.

-EMTV

PNG Reef Successfully Deployed

After many years of hard work and dedication, we have successfully deployed all 21 of the long-awaited reefs for coral restoration in Papua New Guinea! We are incredibly proud of the result of such diligence and generosity from our team and from all of our supporters around the world. We will continue to make strides towards building this project into a Global Force For Ocean Health™ — both across the globe and close to home for generations to come.

View Photo Gallery of the Making & Deployment of the Reef

Fish Reef Project Includes Somalia in TGAFR Efforts

Fish Reef Project is proud to include Somalia in its latest efforts to build the Great African Food Reef. We are working with local NGO partners to deploy the first 2000 reef units in Somalia. The cobalt blue waters off the Somali Coast, is home to amazing forms of marine life. Somalia is ready to move ahead and rebuild as they rise from the ashes of decades of civil War and Fish Reef Project is proud to be part of the reconstruction and peace making process.  Somali fishermen are looking forward to having new reefs closer to shore.

Much of the seafloor off Somalia is naked mud and sand; some of the natural reefs have been harmed by human activities.  By building new reefs and providing new structure, it will allow massive amounts of new coral, fish and lobster to thrive and provide food and income for Somalis.  In the past, some Somalis turned to piracy because fish stocks had been depleted from illegal fishing activities, hence it is everyone’s best interest to keep the reefs and fish stock healthy and able to support small scale sustainable fisheries.

Learn More about the Africa Reef Project here >

 

A fishermen tell Somali women that there is no more fish, at the Bossaso harbour in Puntland, Somalia. In the 23 years since Somalia descended into civil war, the country’s waters have been exploited by illegal fisheries, and the economic infrastructure that once provided jobs ravaged. Too often, there was simply no way for young men with limited educations to provide for themselves or their families, and many turned to piracy. Although piracy has decreased in recent years, unless young men in Somalia are provided with appealing livelihood opportunities, there is a chance that they could revert back to piracy. ADESO/ KAREL PRINSLOO.

 

A fishermen tell Somali women that there is no more fish, at the Bossaso harbour in Puntland, Somalia. In the 23 years since Somalia descended into civil war, the country’s waters have been exploited by illegal fisheries, and the economic infrastructure that once provided jobs ravaged. Too often, there was simply no way for young men with limited educations to provide for themselves or their families, and many turned to piracy. Although piracy has decreased in recent years, unless young men in Somalia are provided with appealing livelihood opportunities, there is a chance that they could revert back to piracy. ADESO/ KAREL PRINSLOO.