SEPTEMBER 5, 2017: Ocean ambassador George Cummings adopts Biri Bud!


Coral Reef Restoration
Welcome to Biri Initiative

Biri Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring the fragile coral reefs around Biri Island, Northern Samar, the Philippines.

The Philippines has more than its fair share of the world's coral reefs, 27,000 km2 of them spread around 7,107 islands. Northern Luzon forms the apex of a 5.7 million km2 area known as the Coral Triangle, recognized as the global center of biodiversity and a top priority for conservation.

Unfortunately, all is not well in paradise.

In 2007, the official community-based reef monitoring program of the United Nations, the Reef Check Foundation, reported that only 5% of the country's reefs were in "excellent" condition.

The World Atlas of Coral Reefs, published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2001, reported that 97% of reefs in the Philippines are under threat from destructive fishing methods using cyanide and dynamite. Combined with overfishing, these are largely to blame for the destruction of the very ecosystems that so many small fishing communities, like Biri, depend on.

A single reef can support as many as 3,000 species of marine life. As fishing grounds, they are from 10 to 100 times as productive per unit area as the open sea.

In the Philippines, an estimated 10-15% of the total fish harvest comes from reefs, and 80-90% of the incomes of small island communities comes from fisheries.

Biri Initiative explores methods of sustainable fishing to help the local community optimize use of existing stocks while improving them for the future. This includes construction of a fish hatchery, an education center, and production of innovative artificial reefs called Biri Buds.

We also investigate alternative forms of employment, new educational opportunities, and ways to empower women in the community.


In March 2017, we began transplantation of coral fragments on a large scale, an undertaking we call Project 250. To assist us, we had the services of Homer Hernandez for two weeks. Homer is an expert in coral reef restoration, who also trained our local volunteers to carry on the good work.

Over the course of 2017, Project 250 plans to recover loose coral fragments from the seabed and plant them on 150 Biri Buds and 100 domes and large rectangular cages of iron rebar. Some of the Biri Buds were already deployed in the last two years, but without coral fragments attached. Most, however, will be new additions.

In March of this year, we planted 165 coral fragments, and achieved a 95% survival rate. Lesions quickly healed, and calcification showed that the fragments were attaching themselves to their substrates.

Read more ...


October 26, 2017: Philippine coral restoration project reports 95 per cent success
Dive Magazine

October 1, 2017: Biri Initiative, a story on coral restoration
Sevenseas Media Magazine

September 5, 2017: Ocean Ambassador George Cummings Adopts Biri Bud
Biri Initiative press release

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