Bali Aquarium – Serangan Coral Farm
The pictures speak for themselves. Left to grow for a nearly a year without even a trim, the Bali Aquarium coral farm racks are starting to get out of control! The overgrown racks are looking like a reefers wet dream and we’re already counting the hours until we can go back and continue photographing this colorful coral collection.
Since May of 2018, the export of corals, both mariculture and wild from Indonesia, has been on hold. But fear not, throughout this hiatus, thousands of coral colonies have not been forgotten, rather they’ve just been left to grow unchecked.
This wild growth, however, is not without its setbacks. Maintaining these coral gardens in a labor-intensive job, and certain farms are only accessible by fishermen. Without the economic activity of exporting corals, continuing to pay these fishermen rests solely on the shoulders of Bali Aquarium.
Some of these employees have been working for decades with the company, so despite the ban, their salaries remain paid. Coral gardening is not something you learn overnight, so their knowledge and experience are what has kept these farms thriving throughout these hard times.
In an effort to diversify and put some of these overgrown corals to good use, Bali Aquarium has been building a non-profit organization called Ocean Gardener, dedicated to teaching people about corals.
Ocean Gardener has started opening some of their coral farms to the public and organizing guided tours to learn more about coral identification, and coral restoration. They also consult with hotels to install new coral gardens and help restore reefs.
We are very excited to be apart of the Ocean Gardener team, and help with restoration efforts around Indonesia! Thanks to knowledge gained working in the aquarium industry, we are now able to transfer these lessons into ocean conservation and coral education to a wider audience.
At least the Indo ban has left us with this silver lining, but we are eagerly awaiting the day that exports re-open. There is still plenty of work left to ensure these corals don’t get unmanageable or overrun with algae and pests.
Opening the trade will give a much-needed boost to the Bali Aquarium coffers, and enable staff waiting on the sidelines to jump in and continue growing these underwater gardens.