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Underwater Border Control in Bali

Survey of Bali's Reefs Show Resilience, Rare Fish and Coral, Overfishing and Plastic Refuse as Future of Bali's Oceans is in Doubt.

(5/14/2011) The results of a Marine Rapid Assessment Program (MRAP) surveying reefs at 33 points around Bali have revealed a high capacity for reef regeneration and adaptation in the face of global climate change. Researchers estimate that the coral reefs of Bali should be able to accommodate temperature shifts of up to eight degrees centigrade.

The director of ocean programs for Conservation International Indonesia (CII), Ketut Sarjana Putra, quoted by Beritabali.com, cites the reefs off Nusa Penida, Candi Dasa, Amed, Pulau Menjangan and Pemuteran as being highly adaptable and capable of rapid regeneration.

Said Putra: "We know that Bali has coral that is both unique and able of recover rapidly because in 1997 and 1998 reefs near Pulau Menjanan that were destroyed by crown of thorns have now (largely) recovered. In 1997 and 1998 the recovery rate was 15%, but it now above 50%."

In the course of conducting the survey, Putra said he was disappointed to find great amounts of the reef near Sanur beach covered by plastic refused.

New Species of Coral

The Conservation International Indonesia (CII) also discovered a new species of coral in the waters near Candi Dasa.

The survey conducted between April 29 and May 11, 2011, included ichthyologist Dr. Gerald Allen and coral ecologist Dr. Lyndon Devantier, and reviewed some 400 distinct species of coral existing around Bali with one new species identified from the family Euphyllia. Further research will reveal if the coral identified is truly a new species or a sub-species of existing coral.

During the identification phase the new coral has been labeled Euphyllia Balimandaraensis in recognition of the island where it was first encountered.

New Species of Fish

The same CII survey also identified 8 new species of reef fish in Bali's oceans.

Putra estimated that there are 1,125 species of coral fish living in Bali's coral reefs. He noted with some concern, however, that during the 350 hours of underwater research carried out by the survey team only 3 sharks, 3 Napoleon fish and 2 Grouper were encountered. He saw this paucity of large fish species as evidence that Bali is suffering the effects of over-fishing.

Putra called on the government to urgently establish fishing zones in order to protect the bio-diversity of the surrounding seas.