What Are Bio-Rocks?

Bio-rocks is a relatively new technology that allows corals to regrow into coral reefs. These structures are an essential part of the projects that Gili Eco Trust invest in to rebuild coral reefs in the Gili islands that have been damaged by boats dropping anchors and fishing practices.

Here is a diagram of a bio rock:

Bio-rocks are man-made structures that through electric currents and electro-accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater, stimulate the growth of corals. There are 127 biocoks in gili making it the second-largest program in the world.

Gili has credited their bio rocks to “Marine scientist Wolf Hilbertz in 1974 was researching seashells and coral to find out how they grow. He found that by passing an electrical current through seawater, the salty water electolyzes causing calcium carbonate to combine with magnesium. Chloride and hydroxyl ions slowly form on the cathode and this eventually coats the electrode with a material almost as strong as concrete. Over time this material hardens further, growing and becoming stronger as long as the current flows as much as 5cm per year. It can even heal itself if it were to be damaged and due to it’s high levels of dissolved oxygen it is particularly attractive to marine organisms The superfood for our coral reefs! ”

Students can come to Gili to work on the project and is mainly aimed at gap year students, people on career breaks and anyone interested in more than just a normal vacation. Volunteers can come along to the island and help out on new Bio Rock projects, work on maintaining existing ones or even sinking their very own brand new Bio Rock. Other activities include how to create and maintain a coral garden, learn about environmental threats and coral biology, and how to survey coral gardens.

biorockstructuredivesite

Gili Eco trusts also offer their very own coral reef awareness course and bio-rock PADI dive course

Here are some of the many bio rocks at the Gili islands:

Bio rocks can look really different and creative like this on in Bali creating interesting landscapes and coral reefs:

Destructive Fishing Techniques (Dynamite and Cyanide Fishing)

 

As part of Gili Eco Trust, we strongly discourage and look down upon fishing techniques that do more harm than good such as dynamite fishing and cyanide fishing in which other fish and corals are damaged or killed unnecessarily. Below are two examples of what happens when for instance cyanide or dynamite fishing techniques are used:

Coral reefs are important marine and aquatic ecosystems that have huge biodiversity supporting many species. Coral reefs are found around the equator so mainly in tropical regions between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer or 23.5 degrees north and south of the equator. The ocean here is mainly calm, warm and not much wind. Coral reefs also help neighbouring ecosystems like mangroves, seagrass beds and deep-ocean ecosystems.

Coral reefs are situated between 5-60 meters deep and come in three types. Fringing reefs (near the coast), barrier reefs (situated between a lagoon or deep area of water) and atoll (sort of like an island surrounded by a coral reef)

Coral reefs form around the reef crest, reef flat and fore reef (on a hill underwater.

As many knows, coral reefs are important ecosystems, and these fishing techniques are damaging and terrible for coral reefs

Below is a diagram of threats to coral reefs, mainly overfishing techniques:

Many fishing techniques are destructive to these delicate habitats and ecoystems — particularly vital fish breeding grounds like coral reefs and seagrass meadows. Below are some examples of these fishing practices, which happen mainly in south east asia, but have happened in places like Australia

  • Bottom trawling: Before, these trawlers were not used because they could snag and tear but, in the 1980s, more powerful trawlers were introduced which became sort of like a killer machine in which corals were just ripped like plants from the sea bed.

  • Cyanide fishing: In this technique, fishers squirt sodium cyanide into the water to stun fish without killing them, making them easy to catch. However, the bad news with cyanide is that for every live fish caught using cyanide, a square metre of their coral reef home is killed.

  • Dynamite fishing: In this technique, dynamite or other explosives are set off underwater. The dead fish floating to the surface are then simply scooped up. The explosives completely destroy the underwater environment, leaving it as rubble. Dynamite fishing has contributed to most of the massive destruction and sometimes when diving in south-east Asia, one can hear bombs and explosions going off regularly.

  • Ghost fishing: Ghost fishing occurs when fishing gear is lost or abandoned at sea. The gear can continue to catch fish, dolphins, whales, turtles, and other creatures as it drifts through the water and after it becomes snagged on the seabed.