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Nusa Penida Coral Conservation: Bali

The Indonesian chapter of the Nature Conservancy (TNC), a non-governmental environmental organization based in the U.S., has stated that the coral reef around Nusa Penida Island off Bali will be the focus of a new conservation program.

“Nusa Penida is part of the 75,000 square km of the coral triangle that lies in six countries: Indonesia, Philippine, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands,” country director of TNC Rili Djohani told a conference in Sanur as Irawaty Wardany explains.

She said the coral in the area was threatened by illegal fishing activities that use poison or explosives to kill the fish.

“Around 120 million people depend on the fishing sector for their lives, therefore we should preserve the coral (as the home of the fish) from devastation,” she said.

She added that the TNC was looking forward to establishing a close cooperation with the government, private sectors and the local people in carrying out preservation efforts.

“I hope next month we can gather all the stakeholders to discuss what should be done to preserve the coral in the area,” she said.

Rili added that as an archipelagic country, Indonesia had a strategic position in global sea conservation efforts.

Program manager of the TNC’s Coral Triangle Center Abdul Halim said that the conservancy had worked with some partners including the local government and people, universities and non-governmental organizations, to build sea conservation areas in Indonesia.

“So far we have made sea conservation areas in Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara, Derawan Island in East Kalimantan, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi and Raja Ampat in West Papua,” he said.

He added that they would start to establish conservation areas in three islands in Bali; Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.

The three islands have a combined coral reef area of 13.01 square km and a 2.5 square km of mangrove forest.

Saleh Purwanto from Bali’s Maritime and Fisheries Agency said that there were seven spots in Bali that were prone to coral devastation, the areas around Nusa Penida, Sanur, Menjangan, Tulamben and four others in Karangasem Regency area.

“Those seven spots should be the focus of our monitoring program,” he said, adding that the coral destruction was also caused by irresponsible tourism activities.

The three islands have gradually been transformed into tourism resorts in the past ten years while Sanur, Menjangan and Tulamben have seen intensive tourist activities for decades.
Unfortunately, he said, the agency could not monitor those areas optimally due to a lack of human resources and funding.

“Therefore we need the involvement of the local communities in monitoring the activities around the areas,” he said.

Ida Kade Arga from the Maritime and Fisheries Agency of Klungkung, the regency that oversees the three islands, said that the agency was currently educating the locals of Nusa Penida on alternative livelihoods.

“We have conducted trainings for the processing of seaweed and other sea resources. Our primary aim is teaching them that fishing is not the only available source of income ” he said.

He pointed out that most of fishermen who conducted illegal fishing in Nusa Penida were not local people.

“Local people in Nusa Penida have a high level of awareness on coral preservation already,” he said.

I Wayan Suarbawa, one of the Nusa Lembongan’s community leaders said that people in the island already knew the importance of protecting and preserving the coral reefs.

“We realize that by preserving the coral reefs we will also preserve our asset of maritime tourism, which has become the main attraction of this island,” he said.