Indonesian fishing communities find balance between biodiversity and development

Feb 07, 2013
Indonesian fishing communities find balance between biodiversity and development
WCS researchers for the Wildlife Conservation Society have found that co-management plans and incentives in Indonesia's Karimunjawa National Park help improve the livelihoods of communities and achieve conservation objectives. For instance, economic incentives to local fishers through assistance with fish mariculture techniques and equipment has helped improve acceptance of conservation strategies in the park. Credit: Ripanto/WCS Indonesia Program

Fishing communities living on the islands of Indonesia's Karimunjawa National Park have found an important balance, improving their social well-being while reducing their reliance on marine biodiversity, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Western Australia.

Over the past 5 years, the Government of Indonesia has turned Karimunjawa National Park—a marine paradise of turquoise seas and mangrove-ringed islands in the Java Sea just south of Borneo—into a model of co-management for the country, largely by increasing in park governance and providing such as the development of ecotourism and business enterprises to reduce fishing pressures.

The study now appears in the online version of Marine Policy. The authors include: Stuart J. Campbell, Tasrif Kartawijaya, Irfan Yulianto, and Rian Prasetia of the ; and Julian Clifton of the University of Western Australia.

"Community involvement in the management of fisheries in Karimunjawa has had a significant impact on improving the sustainability of these resources," said Dr. Stuart Campbell, lead author on the paper. "One outcome has been the stabilization of reef in some areas since the zoning regulations have taken effect. Another important outcome has been the improved socioeconomics and political power of participant communities, the key to any successful endeavor in sustainable development."

Karimunjawa National Park covers some 1,100 square kilometers of sea surrounding a total of 27 islands with a resident population of 9,000 people. The protected area was among the first in Indonesia to be recognized as critical for the conservation of the region's . The coastal reef systems provide numerous with spawning aggregation sites, important for the long-term conservation of commercially valuable species. The islands contained in the park provide valuable nesting sites for both sea turtles and seabirds.

In 2006, a study by WCS and others revealed that Karimunjawa's natural resources were under threat from overfishing, with the park's coral reefs and fish biomass in poorer condition than marine protected areas where community and traditional management systems were in place.

Since that time, the Karimunjawa National Park Authority has increased community participation in the management of Karimunjawa's natural resources. Villages now have institutions to address and resolve stakeholder conflicts. Incentives provided to communities have promoted awareness of and support for fishing regulations (which include closures to protect spawning fish sites) and gear restrictions designed and implemented by community members themselves.

The economic incentives of the new plan have decreased dependency on the park's natural resources, and the incorporation of user-rights by coastal communities into spatial planning helps eliminate unsustainable, destructive fishing. Most importantly, the communities and government officials work in tandem to enforce the rules of the park, prohibiting banned gear and catching and prosecuting fishers who illegally fish in the park.

"This co-management model is ideal for both marine conservation and local empowerment," said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of WCS's Marine Program. "The current plan's economic, legal, and participatory incentives have created a self-perpetuating system of exclusive access rights for local communities, who in turn support and enforce the protected area's policies and regulations."

Explore further: Declining catch rates in Caribbean green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fisheries benefit from 400-year-old tradition

Oct 11, 2012

A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and James Cook University says that coral reefs in Aceh, Indonesia are benefiting from a decidedly low-tech, traditional management system that dates back ...

4 years after tsunami: Corals stage comeback

Dec 29, 2008

A team of scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has reported a rapid recovery of coral reefs in areas of Indonesia, following the tsunami that devastated coastal regions throughout ...

Study IDs new marine protected areas in Madagascar

Feb 24, 2012

A new study by the University of California, Berkeley, Wildlife Conservation Society, and others uses a new scientific methodology for establishing marine protected areas in Madagascar that offers a "diversified ...

Recommended for you

Japan lawmakers demand continued whaling

11 hours ago

Japanese lawmakers on Wednesday demanded the government redesign its "research" whaling programme to circumvent an international court ruling that described the programme as a commercial hunt dressed up as ...

EU must take urgent action on invasive species

14 hours ago

The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen's University Belfast.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...