Coral Conservation Programme at Alila Manggis
Coral Reefs Under Threat
Coral reefs are in grave danger around the globe from threats such as global warming and overfishing: 11 percent of the world’s coral reefs have been lost with another 16 percent severely damaged during the 1998 El Niño event. Scientists predict that another 32 percent may be lost in the next thirty years if human threats are not reduced.
The destruction of coral reefs has severe consequences due to the many essential roles they play. Although they cover only two-tenths of one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are complex tropical ecosystems that rival the rainforests in terms of biodiversity. Constructed by living organisms, they are home to some of the most fascinating plants and animals in the world, and support nearly a quarter of all marine species. They protect the shoreline and coastal communities from damaging storms and tsunamis. They are also an invaluable resource, providing food and income to millions of people worldwide.
Bali’s Reef Assessments
Based on the rapid assessments of Bali’s reefs conducted by Conservation International, the reefs around the Candidasa area, namely Gili Tepekong, and West and East Gili Mimpang, are reefs of high conservation value. The reefs are influenced by the presence of cool water upwelling and consistently strong current flow from the Lombok Strait, and these factors may be particularly important in safeguarding against rising sea temperatures associated with global climate change.
The rapid assessment in 2011 reported the species richness of corals to be 137 species in Gili Tepekong, 142 species in West Gili Mimpang, and 122 species in East Gili Mimpang. The beach in front of Alila Manggis is rocky, being composed of different sized pebbles. The underwater areas generally consist of a gradually sloping loose sandy substrate, with patches of sea grasses and harder substrates at a depth of 1 to 2 metres. Approximately 200 metres from the beach, at a depth of 3 to 5 metres, lie patchy reefs. The dominant substrate covering the shallow coastal area in front of Alila Manggis is sand. The area lacks hard substrates, resulting in low recruitments of hard corals and other marine organisms. Many reef organisms, including coral larvae, require hard substrates on which to settle. In the places where patches of hard substrates do occur, these are mostly covered by soft corals, with some colonies of hard corals. Given the lack of reef structures, the remaining patchy reefs provide microhabitats for fish and invertebrates such as lobster, starfish, crinoids and anemones.
Alila Manggis and Zen Dive Bali are running a few parallel projects, such as organising a beach and underwater cleanup every 28th of the month, and working on the “Underwater Garden” artificial reef.
We began by setting up a few table corals and cement bells, and we visit the site weekly to maintain the garden and monitor coral growth. Every month we plant new corals. We also elevate nearby broken corals away from sediment on the bottom onto our tables.
It is indeed inspiring to see new juvenile fish stock emerge in the last year around the Underwater Garden. Corals planted on tables are slowly finding their way onto cement bells, which are ideally shaped to create homes for fish and shrimps.
Being in a place like Bali, with its abundant nature and mesmerising beauty, provides a great opportunity to educate people because, in such an environment, every degree of human influence becomes more obvious, and sometimes more overwhelming.
One of our efforts to preserve this natural beauty is a monthly “PLASTIC-FREE OCEANS” cleanup, in which we involve local people, the Alila team as well as guests. The session begins with an interactive presentation explaining how we contribute to the worldwide debris database with our cleanup, explaining the reasons and needs behind such an initiative.
We educate people on corals, what they are and how they sustain life, as well as offer a chance to donate and buy new coral stock for the artificial reef. We communicate with local fisherman, explaining that once fish stock on the reef is big enough, they will feel the difference in their catch from the fish overflow.
In addition, Zen Dive Bali conducts environmental lessons at a nearby NGO on a weekly basis, where we teach local kids between the ages of 6 and 18 the importance of sustainability, recycling, etc.
How you can be involved
Zen Harmony Diving’s concept is greatly concerned with the environment, and we believe that taking people diving or snorkeling, and introducing them to the underwater realm, already creates a shift in their understanding and their value of it.
We invite certified divers to join our dives at the Underwater Garden, and plant corals with us or simply assist with the cleanup. Those without diving experience can either join us snorkeling or can get involved in the monthly beach cleanup. Besides these activities, guests who support our project by buying corals will get their name tag underwater and regular updates on the coral growth. So there is a chance for everyone to give their support.
People who take action and dive with us often come back changed and inspired to engage further in work on sustainability and similar projects.
DIVE IN HARMONY
Take your scuba skills to the next level on a dive holiday at Alila Manggis. Designed for non-certified divers, this package includes expert instruction by Zen Harmony Diving, beginning in the resort’s pool and progressing to the ocean. Zen Harmony Diving’s holistic approach combines correct breathing techniques with rejuvenating massages and yoga, designed to release muscle tension and relax the mind, making for a more enjoyable dive in East Bali’s underwater paradise.
4D/3N Dive in Harmony starts from USD 300++ per night
• Return airport transfers
• 3 nights’ accommodation at Alila Manggis
• Daily a la carte breakfast
• Zen Harmony Diving consultation, one Zentsu session, one yoga class, theory and pool session, two Discover Scuba Dives
• One 3-course dinner at Seasalt Restaurant
• 20% discount on Spa Alila treatments
• 20% discount on F&B (excluding alcoholic beverages)
• 20% in-residence Alila Hospitalities