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Using YouTube knowlege: How Karkar Islanders are growing coral reefs

Reef 3

Story by Aileen Baretta

Humans take a lot more from the ocean than we give back and we talk too much about nothing than doing something about it.

Kavailo villagers of Karkar Island in Madang Province have stopped talking and started doing when on 8th of June launched their first nursery of corals and reefs.

It first started from YouTube watching sessions, when the local Lutheran Church pastor, Matei Ibak collected inspirational videos then shared them among the congregation’s youths.

Reef 1

It didn’t take long to start planning what the nursery beds would look like and what they’d be made from.

Kavailo village is situated around the pristine Kulubob Bay where the water is cooler in the bay then it is in the open sea. However when walking along the shore, one would notice thousands to millions pieces of dead corals. The reef is dying and at a very rapid rate.

KUlubob Bay 1

What caused it is a question they are asking but helping rehabilitate the reef while doing so is a two-pronged strategy this “Action community” as they are now known widely, is doing.

They were tagged as the “Action community” when they resisted the proposed seabed mining in their waters in 2011.

The community is using two technics of coral nursery. The first one is when pieces of life coral are tied to a long rope held afloat by floaters on each end. This has proven successful in three weeks as these ocean fauna responded well to the sunshine they are exposed to. They will be monitored weekly for 6 months and be then replanted onto the reef. This method started 3 weeks earlier.

The second technic is where pieces of life corals are tied onto square meshed wires, which in this case are then tightly tied onto wrecked metal table or bed stands. These pads or beds are then placed at a certain part of the seafloor for constant weekly monitoring. The pads will be monitored each week until 2019 World Oceans Day on the 8th of June to be transplanted onto the reef.

The villagers through Pastor Matei Ibak are now appealing to any Karkar Islander who has expertise in marine rehabilitation to help with expert advise or skills to enhance this rehabilitation program.

The main reason behind this program is to combat climate change and experimental seabed mining.

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