Innovative Reefballs for Near-Shore Diving & Snorkeling
Sabang Beach’s favorite dive resort is excited to announce its active participation in coral reef regeneration with the launch of the Big Apple Initiative, and this February played host to our consultants on this new venture from the island of Biri in Northern Samar.
Biri Initiative Org. founder Richard Ewen, and technical advisor Terence Cooper, met with Big Apple’s dive shop manager Steve Flemming to discuss deployment of the latest innovation in the field of artificial reefs known as “reefbuds”. Benjhie Tayag of the Yes2Life Foundation also let the participants know in advance that he would be available to assist in any way.
Reefbuds are a major evolution of the world’s most popular form of artificial reef, the reefball. Setting reefbuds apart is a special biomass component blended with its high-tech concrete, which greatly accelerates colonization by corals.
Terence is part of the team that first developed and helped deploy reefbuds in Batangas and Cavite, and he has also observed a major deployment of reefballs in Boracay. Now he has teamed up with Biri Initiative Org. to promote reefbuds wherever they are needed. Big Apple Initiative is proud to be a partner in this exciting venture in Puerto Galera.
Even better, there are many locations in Sabang - including right in front of Big Apple Dive Resort – that the Biri Initiative Org. team consider ideal for deploying reefbuds. We have already acquired the molds and materials to produce reefbuds on site, and guided by the expertise of Richard and Terence, expect to be deploying our own very soon.
But we are not just using technology provided by Biri Initiative Org. We will also be adopting a key aspect of their overall approach to reef regeneration which is to make it a community experience.
For scuba divers visiting Sabang, we will be inviting you to assist in the deployment and monitoring of reefbuds, so you can play an active role in improving the health of our marine environment.
We will also be inviting students, of all levels, to learn from our experiences and raise their awareness of how vital coral reefs are, not only to Puerto Galera but to the planet as a whole.
Big Apple Initiative has embraced reefbuds for three reasons. The first is, quite simply, that they work - very well! Provided they are deployed in suitable locations, rapid colonization by algae, small fish and soft corals is guaranteed. These, in turn, promote growth of the building blocks of coral reefs, hard corals, which is why reefbuds also come with built-in mounting points for transplanting young corals from coral nurseries.
Their track record of success has already been established in regenerating reefs damaged by illegal fishing methods, infestations of crown-of-thorns starfish, and other negative impacts. Biri Initiative Org. is continuing this important work offshore from the fishing community of Biri Town. But reefbuds are also ideal for tourist destinations like Puerto Galera. By building new reefs, resort operators can offer snorkelers and divers more options, closer to home, and in so doing relieve pressure on existing reefs. Everyone wins: operators, visitors and the environment! As if that were not enough, healthy reefs also provide protection for our precious beaches!
The second reason is that the track record of reefballs worldwide makes it easy to obtain permission from authorities to deploy them. Over half a million reefballs are already at work, in some 3,500 projects in 42 countries. Their effectiveness is backed up by solid bodies of scientific research and media reports.
The third reason is that reefbuds are truly an investment in the future. Although they will eventually degrade once their job is done, reefbuds feature high-strength, abrasionresistant concrete that will be stable for centuries - an important consideration when building reefs that will last for thousands of years. Not only will loyal visitors to Big Apple be able to watch their reefs grow year after year, they will also be passing on a legacy for countless generations to come.
Please contact Big Apple Initiative for more information about this adventure of a lifetime!
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