Coral Bleaching Intensifies In Bali As Temperatures Rise

by | Jul 5, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Coral Bleaching Intensifies In Bali As Temperatures Rise

Nyoman Sugiarto, an Indonesian conservationist, has dedicated 16 years to preserving Bali’s coral reefs. However, recently coral bleaching intensifies in Bali. Last December, 90% of the corals Sugiarto had nurtured in Bondalem, on Bali’s northern shore, lost their color. “It was all white. We were shocked, and it also negatively affected the coral we planted, not just the natural ones,” Sugiarto told Reuters.

Coral bleaching intensifies in Bali

When Sugiarto began his conservation efforts in 2008, he was informed that coral could retain the living algae that give it color for 10 to 20 years. Yet, the reefs off Bondalem were bleached in less than a decade. Sugiarto attributes this to warmer sea temperatures triggered by climate change. Coral bleaching occurs when coral expels the colorful algae living in its tissues. Without the algae, the coral becomes pale and vulnerable to starvation, disease, or death.

In April, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that more than 54% of the world’s reef areas are experiencing bleaching-level heat stress. This marks the fourth global bleaching event in the past three decades. Indonesia, which holds about 18% of the world’s coral reefs, has roughly 5.1 million hectares of coral reefs, according to the country’s tourism ministry.

The recent bleaching in Bali, primarily caused by rising sea temperatures from the El Nino phenomenon, highlights the severity of the situation. Indonesia experienced its most severe dry season since 2019 due to El Nino. Although Indonesia’s corals are generally resilient and recover faster, Marthen Welly, a marine conservation adviser at the Coral Triangle Center, warns that this will not suffice against rising ocean temperatures. “It’s predicted that coral bleaching will occur more often, between one or two years with the current temperature,” Welly stated, referencing research by Australia’s reef management agency and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Despite the challenges, Sugiarto remains committed to his coral conservation mission. He is actively advocating for coral conservation among younger Indonesians and seeking funds to establish a village community to monitor illegal fishing. “We feel that we have an obligation to guard the sustainability of underwater life, especially corals,” Sugiarto said. His determination underscores the critical need for ongoing efforts to protect these vital ecosystems as coral bleaching intensifies in Bali.

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  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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