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Manado Tua Island


Conservation benefit: Coral reef rehabilitation

Date Approved: 11.2002


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Manado Tua Island is a towering extinct volcano fringed with picturesque reef drop-offs and capped with a rainforest at its summit. The island’s 3,200 inhabitants form a tightly knit community of farmers and fishermen who cling tenaciously to their Sangir cultural traditions. Blast fishing, however, reduced large sections of Manado Tua’s coral reef to rubble more than a decade ago.

With Seacology’s help, Manado Tua villagers have installed EcoReef modules, snowflake-shaped ceramic modules that are designed to mimic branching corals. They provide shelter to fish and a surface for larval corals to build a new reef. In return, villagers have expanded their current no-take reef zones to include five acres of reef containing the EcoReef modules. USAID’s Natural Resources Management Project and dive operators from the North Sulawesi Watersports Association coordinated the project.

Project Updates

July 2005

After about 18 months of growth, project team leader Mark Erdmann reports that coral transplants are now covering large sections of the modules, live coral have formed bridges between modules, and other species are actively growing in the area, including large sponges, several giant clams, and lyretail groupers. The community remains very pleased with the progress of the EcoReef project.

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January 2005

In August 2004, a Seacology delegation visited Manado Tua to mark the official opening of the EcoReef reserve. There are now up to 56 newly recruited coral colonies on each ceramic module with individual coral recruits up to inches in diameter. Schools of fish numbering in the thousands have now returned to the area and can be seen feeding during high current flow. A DVD of the construction, installation, and underwater progress was recently completed and distributed to villagers, who are pleased with the rapid progress in the first year.

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July 2004

The ceramic modules were installed in January 2004 after three weeks of cooperative efforts between villagers and dive operators in the face of rough sea conditions. In March, Seacology’s co-field representative Mark Erdmann visited the site with villagers and divers. They found that the strong currents in the area had allowed for the establishment of coral recruits, coral transplants and fish to occur two to three times faster than originally expected. After only two months, the modules were completely covered with carline algae, bryozoans, serpulid worms and a number of baby coral recruits. A large diversity of fish moved in as well, all in an area that had been barren only three months before.

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