Last month Reef Check Indonesia Foundation Indonesia was honoured to take part in Earth Day 2012 celebrations in a very special community in North Bali.

Bondalem village is a community which should be seen as a leader in conservation of Bali’s precious coral reefs.

Located in Buleleng Regency, north Bali (about 30 kilometres east of the island’s former Dutch colonial capital Singaraja), Bondalem is a quiet and traditional village doing something extraordinary.

Together with neighboring villages including Tejakula, Bondalem is part of the north Bali Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA), a unique and powerful initiative.

Initiated in 2008 and facilitated by Reef Check, the LMMA is aimed at conserving and restoring local coral reefs and ensuring a sustainable future and livelihoods for the community.

Since formation, the communities have played an active role in managing the LMMA, which includes ‘no take’ areas to help preserve local fish stocks and protect precious coral reefs.

To celebrate Earth Day, the fishermen organized a community gathering to launch a new mooring buoy and receive some snorkeling equipment donated by the Gaia Oasis Foundation.

An impromptu fishermen’s swimming race to the new buoy and back to the beach provided lots of laughs, followed by a local beach clean up to collect rubbish. The mooring buoy will be used by fishermen and other boat users to avoid damaging anchoring in the coral reef.

Local community leaders gave speeches about importance of conservation and protection of coral reefs in area for the social economic and environmental health of the region.

Local fisherman and LMMA management committee member, Pak Semir said protecting the coral reef is important for the fishermen of the villages.

‘Our grandfathers told us stories about how easy it was to catch fish here, we all need to change our behaviours before it is too late.”