BioRock workshop 2012



The purpose of this document is to give dive centres and business owners a more detailed understanding of the current proposal to hold a BioRock Workshop on Gili Trawangan in November 2012, and what would be required from residents in order to achieve this.

After the success of the 7th BioRock workshop in November 2011 on Gili Trawangan, the Gili Eco Trust would like to organise another opportunity to extend all existing BioRock  structures, to build new structures around the Gili islands, and to provide a community barrier reef  to fight the erosion around the three islands. Support from the businesses is crucial if these projects are to proceed and be a success. Below are further details on the workshop itself and the BioRock Process.


The coral around the Gili islands has suffered damage during previous years and it is largely agreed upon that some proactive steps are necessary in order to prevent further destruction, with the huge sucssess of the 7 previous workshops we hope to make this a yearly event.

The Gili Islands are dependent on a healthy marine habitat for their fisheries, tourism, sand supply, shore protection and marine biodiversity. This habitat has been largely damaged by combinations of coral heatstroke, disease, land-based sewage, global sea level rise, over-fishing and direct physical damage from destructive fishing practises in the past, boats, anchors, tourists and reef harvesting. As a result, renewable marine resources are declining, endangering local food supplies, shorelines and tourism income.

Without large-scale restoration of degraded habitats to make them capable of supporting larger fish and shellfish populations there will be fewer fish in the future and without healthy growing corals there will be fewer beaches or tourism income, affecting all business owners on the island including 20+ dive schools on Trawangan alone..

Restoration of our degraded reefs and coastal habitats on a scale that makes a difference must be an active environmental priority for local businesses and not an afterthought.

However, there is a much more serious purpose to these projects than for Eco tourism. By keeping corals alive under lethal conditions and restoring coral reefs where they cannot recover naturally, we aim to restore the reef and its fisheries, to keep ecosystems from going extinct from global warming, and to protect the shoreline from vanishing under the waves.

The projects can be any size and are constructed with welded steel rods at a fraction of the cost of a concrete or rock wall. The first stage in restoring the ring reef around the entire island was started in 2008 and protecting its lovely beaches without concrete, dead coral walls, or plastic mesh bags pumped full of sand, which invariably disintegrate, rip, and leave plastic debris littering the sand. The results have been astonishing.

When it was built the structure lay amid the best snorkeling reef in any tourist island in the Maldives, but in 1998, almost all the surrounding reef corals died when water temperatures reached up to 34 degrees C. In contrast, most corals on the Necklace survived. The Necklace reef has become a haven for fish, like Giant Moray eels, sweetlips, triggerfish, and others now rarely seen on the dead reef. Fish line up patiently to be groomed by cleaner fish and shrimps, making it an ideal place to see many species behaving without aggression to each other.

The effect on the beach has been even more incredible. As the limestone rock reef and the corals on it grow more massive, the waves that once surged right through it to batter the beach now slow down. As the waves pass through, the friction of the growing surface constantly increases. As a result, sand once held suspended in the water is settling on the seabed. In the last two years, the once-eroding beach has grown by 15 meters, and the sand is now forming a sandbar pointing right to the structure. Hopefully, this will assist future generations of Maldvians and tourists to continue to enjoy their idyllic moments of peace on the shoreline while this unique country grows its way out of the very real threats of global warming and sea level rise.

The BioRock Process (mineral accretion) is a revolutionary technology used to grow and preserve marine ecosystems. It provides a cost-effective and sustainable method to accelerate coral growth and increase coral survival particularly in areas ( nearly 20 countries now) where environmental stress has affected existing reefs. BioRock methods can help restore damaged coral reefs and provide building materials from sustainable energy resources for aquaculture of corals, oysters, clams, lobsters and fish.

BioRock technology has already been applied in around 20 islands worldwide and has been shown to increase coral growth rates from 3 to 5 times their normal rate. It increases coral survival under higher water temperatures and pollution by 16 to 50 times. It keeps corals alive where they would die, grows reefs where corals cannot recover naturally and turns severely eroding atoll island beaches into growing ones within a few years.

Bio Rock technology Gili Trawangan

With thanks to the Gili Eco Trust and Trawangan Dive