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GL BAL TREASURE

INDONESIA’S

46

he reefs are equally threatened by the effect of global warming with algae blooms, crown of thorns and coral bleaching. The increasing population of the city of Manado means there is a greater need for proper management of human and industrial waste in the waterways and maintenance of clean drinking water. Garbage, especially plastic, is often seen choking corals and marine life in Bunaken and Lembeh Strait. I congratulate the initiatives the North Sulawesi Watersport Association and all the businesses that support the association – you have made a great difference. The success of the program is obvious : the reefs are healthier, and fsh diversity and density greater.

“There is a word for Charles Darwin, and the rest of us have felt when in the presence of coral reef – awe,” Osha Davidson says. “Confronted with the reef, awe is the most appropriate response. It is probably in our nature. It is also, apparently in our nature to destroy that which we hold in awe.” Are we going to just sit by the wayside and just watch our natural treasures dissipate to nothingness? I think not. For over two decades, I have been photographing this evolutionary epicentre of coral reefs. Each time I put my head beneath the waves, the fabric, form and textures of the reefs never fail to fascinate me again and again. Nowhere else in the terrestrial world, have I seen the eccentricity of nature’s magic that is so real right before my eyes. I am a believer. I believe we can preserve our coral reefs. I believe marine tourism helps to preserve coral reefs - though at times damaged by the careless divers, the impact can be minimised. Marine tourism, with sound management supported by the locals, will preserve the marine heritage of North Sulawesi created in the time of Poseidon.

T

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