Survey Finds Indonesian Reefs Recovering, But Still In Need Of Protection
Bali, Indonesia / Arlington, Virginia, U.S. — A two-week
marine survey conducted by scientists with Conservation International (CI) in
Indonesia, along with local partners, led to the discovery of eight potentially
new species of fish and a potentially new species of coral in the waters
surrounding Bali island.
The survey, part of CI's 20-year long Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), was
undertaken by CI at the request of the Bali provincial government and the
Department of Fisheries and Marine Affairs to assess reef health and provide
management recommendations for 25 areas proposed to be developed into a network
of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Bali, which will be designed to be
ecologically-connected and resilient.
Among the potentially new species documented were two types of cardinalfish,
two varieties of dottybacks, a garden eel, a sand perch, a fang blenny, a new
species of goby and a previously unknown Euphyllia bubble coral. Further study
will need to be done to confirm the taxonomy of each species.
This RAP survey, along with a previous survey conducted by CI and partners
for the Bali government in November of 2008, documented 953 species of reef fish
and 397 species of coral in the waters off the coast of Bali.
"We carried out this present survey in 33 sites around Bali, nearly
completing a circle around it, and were impressed by much of what we saw" said
Dr. Mark Erdmann, senior advisor for the CI Indonesia marine
program. "There was a tremendous variety of habitats, surprisingly high
levels of diversity and the coral reefs appeared to be in an active stage of
recovery from bleaching, destructive fishing and crown-of-thorns starfish
outbreaks in the 1990's."
Acting Executive Director for CI-Indonesia Ketut Sarjana
Putra added, "Compared to twelve years ago, we observed an increase in
healthy coral reef cover in the area surveyed, indicating a recovery phase. That
is why it needs serious protection and management, to complete the
Though the survey found the reefs to be recovering well, with a seven-to-one
ratio of live to dead coral, the RAP survey team observed that commercially
important reef fish were severely depleted. In over 350 man-hours of diving, the
team only observed a total of 3 reef sharks and 3 Napoleon wrasse — a stark
contrast to a healthy reef system where a diver would readily encounter this
number of large reef predators in a single dive. The team also saw that plastic
pollution was omnipresent and noted the encroachment of fishers on no-take areas
in the West Bali National Park.
"This RAP survey highlights how important these Marine Protected Areas are to
improving economic returns from marine tourism while also providing food
security and ensuring the sustainability of small-scale artisanal fisheries,"
Among the recommendations made by the CI team are a prioritization of which
areas need immediate protection, the need for spatial planning to reduce the
clash between marine tourism and many unsustainable fishing practices, the need
to commit to enforcement and public funding to manage the MPAs and the need for
strict measures to be put in place to manage pollution from plastics, sewage and
CI's partners in the Marine RAP survey include the Bali Government's Office
of Marine Affairs and theBali Department of Fisheries, as well as the Marine
Research and Observation Office and Warmadewa University.
Funding for the scientific survey was provided by USAID Indonesia as part of
Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP). The Coral Triangle
Support Partnership-Indonesia (CTSP-I) is a collaborative five-year project to
bring about the protection of marine systems and their myriad habitats for the
benefit and sustainable livelihoods of communities across the Coral Triangle
Region of Indonesia, which is the global center of marine biodiversity — with
the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, and more than 500 species of
coral, at least 3,000 species of fish and the greatest remaining mangrove
forests on Earth.
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photos may only be used in editorial stories about Conservation International's
recent survey in Bali, and provided photographer credit must be included with
For more information, contact:
Kim McCabe, Media Director, Conservation International
Office + 1
703-341-2546; mobile + 1 202-203-9927
Conservation International Indonesia (Indonesian
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