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WildAid Completes Assessment of Key Marine Protected Areas in Indonesia

In an effort to further combat illegal fishing, WildAid conducted a marine enforcement assessment of two No-Take Zones (NTZs) in Southeast Misool, Indonesia, one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. The report provides concrete recommendations to strengthen operations, improve compliance, and lower operational costs.

The protected areas of Daram and Batbitim are located within the larger Misool Marine Protected Area (MPA), which is located in the center of an area known as the Coral Triangle. It is home to the highest concentration of fish and coral biodiversity found anywhere in the world. The area is geographically isolated and surrounded by open seas, creating an oasis for pelagic fish. The islands of Daram have long beaches, making them ideal turtle nesting areas. The threats facing the area include overfishing by foreigners, destructive fishing practices, turtle/turtle egg harvesting, shark finning, and coral bleaching. They levy extreme damage to the reef systems with net fishing, live reef-fish trade, and even dynamite fishing.

Since November 2005, WildAid and the Misool Eco Resort (MER), a local business that funds conservation efforts in Southeast Misool, have worked with local communities to establish NTZs in exchange for investment in community projects and lease payments to key tribal families. Most recently, WildAid and MER formed a local NGO charged with day-to-day management of the NTZs called the Misool Baseftin Foundation.

While Baseftin possesses a sound enforcement strategy, our team identified several cost-effective recommendations to improve overall operations. Some of these include:

• The design and implementation of a marine VHF marine radio network for patrol vessels and remote base camps

• Installation of an AIS system to monitor large commercial vessels that encroach upon the NTZs during the monsoon season

• Incorporation of local fishers into the system as first alert aids and uniform painting of local fishing vessels in order to easily identify “foreign fishers”

• Strengthening partnerships with the Navy, NGOs, and Police to ensure sanctions and process symbolic cases via the judicial system to discourage both local and foreign poachers.

After only five years, recent scientific monitoring by The Nature Conservancy has documented a three-fold biomass increase in select species including sharks within the Batbitim No-Take Zone. This demonstrates that Marine Protected Area enforcement in fact works!

WildAid invites you to read our assessment and help us in making the Southeast Misool MPA one of the best-protected MPAs in Indonesia.