Save a Reef, Save a Life! - Eileen Walker

Can Coconut & Dilo Oil Help Save the Reefs?

Just 50 years ago the people on the remote islands of the South Pacific lived in perfect balance with the land and sea. Their fertile soil provided for abundant crops (nutrition) and the nearby reefs provided an endless supply of fish (protein). This symbiotic balance and paradise-like environment created one of the world's healthiest and happiest people. However, with the influence of the western diet and economic culture, this perfect balance has been ruined. Present day, there is a need to generate income if they are to afford education, health care and healthy nutrition for their children and for their families. Their once bountiful reefs are over-harvested and their knowledge of farming is rapidly fading.

Reuters Video: Over Fishing is destroying the reefs in Fiji!

Although the result of over-fishing is accurate in the above video research, there is no explanation offered as to the important question of “why” they’re over fishing. The answer is an economic one. Until the remote islanders develop an agricultural income source that exceeds revenue realized from over fishing their reefs, the chances of reversing this dangerous cycle are very small. Fortunately, Sea Mercy's RISE Program is beginning to impact this devastating trend. By providing critical training and required equipment, we are supporting the thousands of remote island communities in their quest to return to the healthy and self-sustaining, thriving communities they once were. However, they need our help.

$1,500 Can Save a Reef!

Imagine if a single donation of $1,500 could help save a reef on a remote island of the South Pacific. It can! When we start addressing the cause of over-fishing, the deadly symptoms begin to fade and the people begin to live more healthy lives. Sea Mercy is providing the vital soils, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) and Dilo Oil training needed, which will severely reduce the need for over-fishing. The end result is sustainable living, healthy reefs and healthy people. We could use your help in funding the tools and equipment purchases that will generate the income needed to stop over-fishing and return to healthy farming practices. Your donation will help provide the following three reef saving items:

    $400 = Dilo Dryer (see drawing and materials list)
    $900 = VCO/Dilo Press
    $200 = VCO/Dilo Oil Containers
    $1,500 Donation = $122,000 in VCO & Dilo Oil Income Generation*
    * Based on current and projected VCO and Dilo Oil calculations on Batiki that far exceed their fishing income (see below)

Please Donate to my "Save a Reef" Fundraiser!

Sea Mercy Volunteer Eileen Walker

During the above 4-week RISE Program training, I will be donating 2-weeks of my time and talents to help address the medical needs of the people living in the four villages of Batiki and the volunteers serving. Please consider supporting my efforts by donating through my "Save a Reef" fundraising link below! Please email me at if you have any questions.
Goal: $3,000 - Currently Raised: $150

Taking the Economic Pressure off the Fragile Reefs

There are two naturally growing and self-sustaining sources of income available on most remote islands. Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) and Dilo Oil (Fijian term for Calophyllum inophyllum) and both are in high demand around the world. What was missing was the training and equipment needed to harvest, extract and store these precious oils from their host nut, and the ability to get these oils to market for sale, providing fair compensation to the remote islanders for their efforts. Sea Mercy* has become the advocate and facilitator for the remote islands and has helped develop the end market and fair compensation structure for them through key partnerships**. These Partners have the same heart and desire for the 'at risk' remote island communities. The changes have already been dramatic.

    * Sea Mercy receives no compensation from the remote islanders or our partners for our RISE Program training.
    ** Bula Batiki, Organic Matters Foundation, Generation Strategies.

Economic Step 1 - Copra to Coconut Oil

For the past decades, the remote island of Batiki's source of 'agricultural' based income came from a few thousand dollars generated from the difficult and labor intensive efforts of producing dried Copra (coconut). As a result, fishing became the primary income source. In 2016, two young men from the United Kingdom, while on a benevolent mission trip to Batiki, were struck by the rotting coconuts on the ground, recognizing the untapped resource. They formed a unique business relationship with the people on Batiki, creating Bula Batiki. Although the islanders were doubtful (only a few families initially participated), after basic training on how to produce and bottle the oil, they produced a 100 liters over a 3 month period ($1,500 FJ). Seeing the income possibilities, more families joined and they grew their production to almost 800 liters a month ($12,000 FJ). The income shift away from the fragile reefs had begun.

Economic Step 2 - Dilo Oil

The Dilo Tree grows naturally on the sandy shorelines of most remote islands in the South Pacific. Twice a year it produces a bountiful harvest of Dilo nuts that fall to the ground when ready. Where the islanders once viewed them as a nuisance (hard nuts to step over), they now see the potential for a valuable income source. Sea Mercy is training the remote islanders how to harvest, free the nut from the shell, dry the nuts, and extract and bottle the valuable oil. With the same unique approach used for the VCO compensation, our friends at Bula Batiki will help take their valuable oil to market. Retailing at $100 (US) per ounce, each liter of pure Dilo Oil will generate between $700 and $1000, and will have a powerful impact in relieving the economic pressure on the reefs.

Agriculture Step 1 - Growing Healthy Crops Again

With the income issue addressed, one last important need exists that Sea Mercy is meeting through our RISE Program by teaching and bringing back the ‘old ways’ of farming - creating and growing healthy soil and crops. Our soils training program with Organic Matters Foundation has once again made farming a desired, respected and thriving profession on the remote islands for men and women, young and old alike. We invite you to join us in supporting our programs in the South Pacific through volunteering or financial assistance.

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