In 2006, Scotsman Richard Ewen, a long-time resident of the Philippines, opened a resort on Biri Island, Biri Resort & Dive Center. Tourists had long been drawn to the island by its extraordinary rock formations, but they were also beginning to discover the quality of diving to be had over Biri's coral reefs. It was apparent, however, that large areas of reef had been devastated by illegal fishing methods, and that immediate action was needed both to save the reefs and ensure a future for local fishermen.
To address this urgent need, in March 2012 Richard registered Biri Initiative Org. as a non-profit organisation with the Securities & Exchange Commission (#CN201204546).
Biri Initiative then set about introducing ourselves to local stakeholders, explaining our programs and seeking their input, familiarising ourselves with regulations and procedures (at both local and central government levels), and building strategic ties with experts with the knowledge and technology we needed to achieve our goals.
A key partnership was also formed with the developers of Reefbuds, a major advance in artificial reef technology that forms a cornerstone of our work. After gaining hands-on experience in Reefbud production and deployment elsewhere in the Philippines, we developed a smaller variant known as the Biri Bud, and began deploying these off Biri in 2015. This represents a major vote of confidence in us by local stakeholders, and fills us with confidence that our efforts will be both well-received and effective in helping ensure a sustainable future for Biri.