From poaching to conservation

Coral reefs are crucial to coastal and marine ecosystems, and play an important role in preventing erosion and flooding. They are increasingly at risk of dying with oceans warming as they absorb greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia’s roughly 5 million hectares of coral reefs account for a fifth of the world’s total. Once, only 2% of the area’s original reef area remained undamaged, because the fisher folk used explosives and chemicals, which were later banned.

The Indonesian marine scientist Syafyudin Yusuf has been working with former poachers to rehabilitate coral reefs destroyed by their use of dynamite for fishing. They have restored to health 11.5 hectares (roughly 30 acres) of corals around a group of 120 islands known as the Spermonde archipelago in the Makassar Strait off Sulawesi. His team anchors frames into the seabed to allow corals to grow undisturbed.


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