The Bird’s Head Seascape (BHS) sits in the global epicenter of marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle, in northwest Papua Barat, Indonesia. With over 1,600 recorded species of coral reef fishes and more than 600 species of hard coral, the BHS has the highest coral reef diversity recorded for an area of its size anywhere in the world. The Seascape contains critical habitats for globally threatened marine species, including the largest Pacific leatherback turtle nesting site in the world, green and hawksbill turtle nesting sites, and migratory populations of sperm and Bryde’s whales, orcas and numerous dolphin species.
The coral reefs and mangrove forests of the BHS are the life support system of the people of West Papua, providing a significant source of protein, jobs in marine tourism, and coastal protection from storms and tsunamis. While still largely intact, these systems are facing immediate and growing threats from destructive fishing methods, overfishing and poorly planned coastal development.
Making a Difference
A guiding principle of the BHS initiative has always been that biodiversity conservation and human well-being must go hand-in-hand in order to succeed. At the center of this ambitious initiative is the establishment and implementation of a multiple-use network of marine protected areas (MPAs) that is supported by and embedded in local and national legislation and co-managed by local communities and local government agencies.
In addition to partnering with local, regency, provincial and national governments; coastal communities; and local organizations and universities in the Seascape, Conservation International has forged an unprecedented collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Indonesia that enables a concerted approach to Seascape implementation. The efforts of Conservation International and our partners are directed toward strengthening on-the-ground implementation in the Seascape’s MPAs—which account for nearly a third of the area in Indonesia’s national MPA system—as well as supporting cross-cutting policy and financing initiatives to secure a sustainable future for the Seascape.
To effectively manage coastal and marine resources in a sustainable manner that incorporates the principles of ecosystem-based management and conserves the rich biodiversity of the Seascape while supporting the livelihoods of its people.
Our Strategy for Achieving Results:
- Design each MPA to deliver sustainable fisheries management and biodiversity conservation, with at least 20 percent of all critical habitats protected in no-take zones
- Develop co-management systems with local communities, governments and partners, providing effective monitoring, enforcement and outreach
- Build local capacity to manage the Seascape’s rich natural resources by hiring, empowering and training local Papuan staff
- Embed the MPA network within sound fisheries and coastal development policies, innovative environmental education systems, and necessary infrastructure and facilities, with a strong focus on encouraging green economic growth
Join the millions of viewers who have seen this video. If you want to learn more about why we are tagging whale sharks in Indonesia, read Mark Erdmann's recent CI blog: Tagging Giants: Studying Whale Sharks in Cendrawasih Bay.