Our goal is to be the leading mitigation specialist for the oil, dredging, coastal development and tourism sectors by helping these sectors complete and operate important and critical projects in a way that minimises marine impacts and even increases opportunities for nature and maintains biodiversity and local fish stocks.
SOI is an Australian social enterprise with an international team dedicated to advancing sustainable design below the waterline and the restoration and enhancement of marine habitats through the application of best-practice and world leading technologies. We have a continuous improvement philosophy where we seek out new technologies and strategies and develop our own to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our reef restoration programs.
We are supporting and collaborating on a range of research projects around the globe and we provide recognition of important contributions to 'better design below the waterline' via our annual 'Sustainable Ocean Innovation' award.
Our artificial reef design philosophy is that constructed reefs should aim to mimic natural reefs in form and function. We aim to build beautiful reefs!
We incorporate a philosophy of biomimicry and 'innovation inspired by nature' when it comes to designing reef units and restoration programs.
We prefer to use artificial reef units that have natural curves and organic shapes so that after a few years it is impossible to tell it is a man-made reef. We believe the marine environment is owed at least this simple courtesy.
As a company we look for additional ways to give back and reduce our footprint.
Biomimicry - Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine Benyus, 1997
David has a unique background, blending a career in marine science with extensive business development and project management experience.
After starting his career as a qualified commercial diver and then PADI diving instructor, he gained his degree in Oceanographic Technology from Florida Institute of Technology in the USA and began building artificial reefs in 1991 from materials of opportunity while studying the impact of oil production in the Arabian Gulf.
It was during this time that he began paying attention to the way marine life chooses and utilises different structures and groupings of reef materials, further developing his interest in artificial reef design to enhance biodiversity.
Since then he has undertaken major impact assessments and artificial reef projects around the world. He has extensive experience designing and building artificial reefs for fisheries enhancement, dredge impact mitigation, coastal protection and tourism in the Middle East, South East Asia, Caribbean, Meditteranean, Australia and the Pacific. He has worked with NGOs, state and national governments, research institutes and universities and industry to improve artificial reef design and enhance reef restoration outcomes.
After his undergraduate degree, David was awarded his MSc in Environmental Management from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and began developing his business and management skills. He has led a number of successful business ventures, including a unique marine ecotour company and now his own marine consultancy, and since 1997 has been the sole authorised contractor in Australia for Reef Ball artificial reef modules.
He was Business Development Manager for three national companies collaborating with organisations such as CSIRO and Pratt Water to take numerous innovative environmental products and services from concept to market, and is currently a business mentor in the Mentor Partners Program for the Glen Eira and Kingston City Councils.
David is committed to socially and environmentally responsible business practices and donates 20% of his time to worthy causes through the SOI Special Projects Fund and donations through the Buy1Give1 Program, http://www.b1g1.com/buy1give1/sustainable-ocean.
He is dedicated to 'better design below the waterline' and is a leading advocate for the advancement of marine impact mitigation and restoration strategies. His unique combination of science, business and industry experience sets him apart from other consultants and has enabled him to offer the best balance between theoretical and practical project outcomes.
John is an international leader and trainer in sustainable coral propagation, reef restoration and culturing of marine ornamental fish and pioneered many of the techniques SOI and others use today. John designed, built and ran the world’s largest ornamental mariculture facility in Puerto Rico, and has established or managed dive centres and other aquaculture facilities in Roatan Honduras, Thailand, and multiple locations in the US.
He has been the team leader for coral restoration projects around the world including Thailand’s tsunami reef restoration projects and was the invited guest speaker and contributing author at two World Bank Conferences on Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development.
John has worked in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Antigua, Turks & Caicos Islands, American Samoa, Palau, Honduras, Solomon Islands, Singapore and the USA. John has a deep understanding of island cultures and is passionate about helping local communities reduce and repair damage to the reefs they depend upon.
Iain is a marine ecologist with over 30 years of international experience as a Chief Technical Adviser on project identification, development, planning of sectoral reviews and management in Coastal Zone, Marine Parks/Protected Areas, Community based resource management and stewardship and stakeholder participation.
Iain is the founder of Reef Conservation Mauritius which now runs marine educational programs in over 80 schools and provides marine tour guide training accredited by Tourism Mauritius.
Iain is a leading consultant to government and industry on environmentally sustainable marine eco-tourism, tourism and recreational planning.
Iain has an MSc in Marine Environmental Protection, is a certified trainer, Yacht Master and PADI Master/Staff Instructor, BSAC Advanced Instructor and Commercial Diver (HSE III). Countries of work experience include Canada, China, Denmark, Far East, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Middle East, Rodrigues, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Socotra, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania (Mafia Island), Uganda, UK, USA, Western Indian Ocean Region, and Yemen.
Capitalizing on his B.S. Biology degree, 9 years of diving and passion for the marine environment, Mike is a natural at helping individuals experience the marine environment and draw their own personal connections to the vast but fragile ecosystems - and in turn facilitate the desire to help protect/preserve these systems.
Mike worked for the Jean-Michel Cousteau’s educational program for 7 years where he educated, inspired and trained generations of individuals from the future decision makers with-in our youth to the influential role models of professional business peoples, athletes and movie stars. His enthusiasm and presentation skills also played a key role in making the marine educational programs a financial success, thus ensuring their continuation.
Mike worked on sustainable projects with-in the local communities of New Zealand and El Salvador and played a key role in a coral restoration project that helped re-establish Thailand's tourism business, and relocation of over 500 coral colonies out of a dredge zone in Saudi Arabia. Mike is a qualified coral handler by the Reef Ball Foundation. His roles on projects include boat captain, writer, educator, researcher, photographer, presenter or project supervisor.
Shaun Britton and Paul Muttimer, through their business ‘Squidinc’ develop cartoon characters and storylines for educational texts, products and children’s books. Shaun is a designer and illustrator who worked for many years at the Walt Disney company and develops cartoon characters for many national and international clients, including Nike and Coca Cola. Paul has successfully developed and published numerous storylines and characters for national organisations and products.SOI has engaged Squidinc to develop a range of reef characters to act as ambassadors and educational assistants within SOI’s Reef Recovery Programs.
Fish Friendly Marinas
Here's an article by SOI Director David Lennon in the Dec issue of the Marina Industry Associations magazine.
>> Fish friendly marina design
SOI can provide the full suite of services from assessing marinas and recommending strategies to increase fish habitat, to providing and deploying the most appropriate fish habitat. Retrofitting a marina is always the most costly option so if you are designing are marina, get in touch with us and we can show you the most cost and ecologically effective strategies to boost biodiversity and fish numbers.
Reef CPR for the GBR!
SOI is partnering with Cairns based 'Sustainable Reefs' and Southern Cross University in order to establish a Reef CPR (coral preservation and restoration) program that includes a research and training centre and coral adoption and planting program that will allow the tourism industry to play a role in helping the reef and to help fill gaps in knowledge about effective restoration strategies for impacted areas on the Great Barrier Reef. This knowledge will then be used in training programs to build the capacity of the dive industry and key government partners to respond to ship groundings, cyclone damage and general reef breakage occuring at high use sites. In effect it is pioneering a new philosophy of recognising that while the reef is traditionally resilient, it is unable to quickly recover from the huge stresses we are placing on it. Just as we have maintenance programs in land based parks, we now must do the same with our marine parks.
The program covers the science, art and business of restoration which is key to its success.
The Adopt-a-Coral program spearheaded by coral mascot 'Ari' will allow tourists, locals and anyone internationally to contriibute to saving the GBR.
Tourists, especially those snorkelling and diving can leave the reef in better condition than they found it! Therefore turning tourism into a tool for reef preservation. Considering the huge tourism value of the GBR...its the least we can do!
Contact us if you'd like to be involved.
Qater reef constructed to offset port impacts
SOI prepared the coral mitigation plan for the new Doha Port to reduce impacts of this important project and this included coral relocation and construction of a purpose designed artificial reef.
SOI's sister company Reef Arabia based in Bahrain, manufactured, delivered and deployed the concrete reef units for this mitigation requirement.
Summary of projects and product development, 2012
Here's our quick overview of some key projects and new constructed reef units we've worked on in 2012.
>>Read key highlights of 2012 here
Culturally Sensitive Artificial Reef Design
Local customs and architecture are considered when planning new buildings...as underwater architects, we believe there are benefits of doing the same when designing a reef.
But its not just about designing a pretty replica for the seabed! The design must also appeal to the marine life of the area.
We describe a good example of how this can be done in our Tech Note 4 - download here .
World's First 3D printed Artificial Reef!
In a world first, an advanced construction sized 3D printer has been used by SOI to revolutionise artificial reef design and produce reef units that look and function like a natural reef, a major step forward in a bid to restore lost and damaged reefs around the world.
>> Read the full media release here
Latest underwater footage from Bahrain artificial reef program
Reef 6, eight weeks after deployment.
Australia Unlimited features SOI
Australian innovation and can-do efficiency is restoring the world’s ocean reefs and creating sustainable marine environments.
Read this article and the background on why we do what do >>click here .
By Kristie Kellahan
We have a winner!
Sustainable Ocean Innovation Award 2012
...and the award goes to...GhostNets Australia for their work in northern Australia tackling the serious problem of lost fishing nets called 'ghost nets'.
The group has found ghost nets measuring 10km long and recorded a myriad of marine species that get entangled as the nets drift along with the currents. The destruction caused by ghost nets continues as they near shore, often wrapping themselves around delicate coral reefs and coastal mangrove systems.
"The GhostNets Australia program is a fantastic example of innovation in action"l.
>>Read the media release here: Sustainable Ocean Innovation Award 2012
SOI constructs first 'cod cave' to help save Murray cod
Murray cod are Australia's largest freshwater fish and overfishing and loss of essential habitat has decimated their numbers. SOI has been contracted to design and construct a concrete unit to help restore some of the essential breeding habitat the fish require. September surveys found a 1.03m Murray Cod right on top of a cod cave so that was very exciting and confirmation they are working. Sidescan image by ACT Government.
SOI wins 2 Year Contract - Bahrain
SOI and partner Reef Arabia have won a two year contract to design, build and monitor 10 artificial reefs around Bahrain.
>>Further details and photos of deployment of first reef in Bahrain
>>Bahrain newspaper article in Arabic
SOI Completes Coral Mitigation Plan for New Doha Port
SOI conducted the necessary surveys and prepared the coral mitigation plans for the New Doha Port and naval base construction which includes a 10km long shipping channel and impact footprint of 4.5km2. Our mitigation plan included accurate coral surveys to quantify the size, type and number of corals within the imperiled and threatened zones, and detailed recommendations on relocation methodology, relocation sites and compensatory artificial reefs to offset loss of productive reef structure.