Popular Indonesian Dive Destination Receives Protection From Mission Blue

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The rugged southern coast of Nusa Penida is home to a resident population of reef manta (Photo: Danaan/shutterstock)

The Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area (MPA) has been declared a Hope Spot by Dr Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue Foundation. Located a 30-minute speedboat ride from the south-east coast of Bali, the 200 sq km MPA – which includes the neighbouring smaller islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan – is one of the best places in Indonesia to encounter manta rays and the southern sunfish (Mola alexandrini).

The Marine Protected Area was first established in 2010 by the local Klungkung District Government together with the Coral Triangle Centre (CTC), a Bali-based marine conservation and education foundation. Protective measures were put in place to prevent damage to the local environment through a rapid rise in tourism, unsustainable fishing practices and a growth in local seaweed farming. Zones to separate marine tourism from traditional fishing areas and sacred sites were established, with the waters patrolled by the Indonesian Navy, local police and the CTC. The MPA won awards in 2013 and 2015 from Indonesia's Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries for its management effectiveness.

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A traditional fishing boat makes its way across the patchwork of a seaweed farm (Photo: Leo_nik/Shutterstock)

Dr Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, said, 'Ideally, in order to recover much that’s been lost, we need to establish really large places where we don’t extract the wildlife that’s there. However, it’s also important to respect the coastal communities that have a long history of supporting themselves by taking wildlife from the ocean. The goal is to do what they’re doing in this treasured place in Bali, where people are looking at the whole picture – they are finding methods to sustain themselves in a way that’s both good for the ocean and good for us.'

The islands have been reliant on the ocean and its resources throughout their history, and local cultures and traditions have grown around the sea. Lembongan was the first of the trio of islands to welcome tourism although much of Nusa Penida itself remained off-limits to development until as late as 2015. The region is home to around 300 species of coral and 576 species of fish, including a resident population of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi). The local branch of the Marine Megafauna Foundation has also found that the larger oceanic manta (Mobula birostris) is a frequent visitor to the area. Both species are currently listed as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Endangered Species.

nusa penida mission blue reef

The reefs of Nusa Penida are rich and diverse (Photo: Aleynikov Pavel/Shutterstock)

'Nusa Penida MPA is an example of how to blend of customary practices and modern scientific knowledge in marine resource management,' said Nengah Bagus Sugiarta, Head of the Bali Province MPA Management Unit. 'Being one of the most visited areas in Bali, it has a unique position to inspire and influence the public to care for Indonesia and the Coral Triangle’s marine biodiversity. It serves as a gateway to go deeper into the many aspects of ocean conservation and management – from climate change impacts to coral reefs, protection of endangered, threatened and protected species, ecosystem management, community engagement, and MPA zoning implementation.'

Read the original report on the Nusa Penida MPA from Mission Blue at this link.



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