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UK advocate wanted to take part in world’s largest coral restoration project

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Leading cat-food brand SHEBA has opened the search for a 2023 Hope Reef Advocate – a unique opportunity for one lucky UK candidate to travel to Indonesia to take part in the world’s largest coral reef restoration project on Sulawesi Island.

As part of SHEBA’s global coral reef restoration movement to help restore the beauty in our oceans, five lucky candidates from around the world will be offered the opportunity of a lifetime – to experience the journey of coral restoration first-hand.

The chosen SHEBA Hope Reef Advocate will split their time between Indonesia and the UK this August, with a week of virtual training with the Mars Petcare and coral restoration team, before flying out to Makassar for ten days, to participate in reef restoration with the local community on the Bontosuan Island. On the iconic Hope Reef itself, the Advocate will join the local community to learn about the coral restoration process, preparing and planting reef stars and sharing their experience, through blog posts and capturing content. Applicants must have a passion for the environment and inspiring action in others, as well as a strong swimming ability to be considered for the role.

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Local Bontosuan community member showcasing a loaded Reef Star

The search for a Hope Advocate is a continuation of the SHEBA Hope Grows project, the world’s largest coral restoration programme to help restore the beauty in our oceans. In 2021, SHEBA unveiled its first project that advocates will see first-hand, located off the southwestern part of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, with satellite images revealing a beacon of hope visible from space – the 14 metre by 46 metre spelling of the letters H-O-P-E using regrown coral – at Hope Reef. This poignant message symbolised how positive change can happen within our lifetime – inspiring people to take action. Since it was restored, coral growth has increased from 2% to 70%, fish populations have increased by 260% and there has been a 64% rise in the number of fish species.

Professor David Smith, Chief Marine Scientist at Mars, Incorporated, said: Scientists have estimated that if we do nothing, 90% of the world’s tropical reefs will be gone by 2043 — a devastating prospect not just for the reefs’ ecosystems, but for the billion people who depend on the reefs for food, income, and coastal protection. We know that coral reefs are the beating heart of our oceans and the continued results we’re seeing on Hope Reef shows that there really is hope for the future. Our efforts around the world to restore and regenerate these precious ecosystems are showing exciting results and having a positive impact on local communities . We hope that our 2023 UK Advocate will help showcase the amazing efforts taking place, and the direct impact that restoring our world’s coral reefs can have on ocean health.”

Rebecca Daniel, SHEBA Hope Grows Advocate 2022 said: “I was left feeling incredibly inspired after spending a week in the Maldives contributing to the SHEBA® Hope Grows restoration project, in partnership with the Maldives Coral Institute as the first UK Hope Advocate. A big highlight for me was the people I met: from the passionate team and volunteers, to the friendly islanders who welcomed us into their homes and shared their stories of the reef with us. I came back to the UK feeling incredibly empowered to continue my journey within marine conservation, and I'm super grateful to be involved in the next stages of this ambitious and successful programme as it expands across the globe.”

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Coral reef build

SHEBA’s global coral restoration programme has seen the launch of 30 SHEBA reef restoration sites across seven countries. By 2029, the SHEBA Hope Reef movement pledges to restore more than 185,000 square meters of coral reefs — roughly the size of 148 Olympic swimming pools — at key sites around the world.

Applications are open until 2 June. For more information, including applicant requirements and T&C’s, visit the website.

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Picture of Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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