Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago with 17,508 islands and the second longest (54,716 km) coastline (after Canada) in the world. Small coastal island communities are therefore integral to the development of Indonesia’s economic future. The islands of Karimunjawa lie 120 km north of Semarang in Central Java, Indonesia and are renowned as the ‘jewel of the Java Sea’. The islands are within one of only seven marine national parks in Indonesia and are popular with local and international tourists alike. The park is made up of 22 individual islands (five of which are inhabited) with 8,000 people living in three communities. WCS has been instrumental in driving a new management process to increase awareness of marine resource management and re-design management regulations with community and government support. Karimunjawa is an ideal site to test this innovative approach and enhance conservation efforts for the benefit of Indonesia’s diverse marine environments.
WCS has a team of marine scientists and marine policy specialists who have expertise in fisheries management, coral reef ecology, protected area management and design. In the past few years the team has developed a baseline of ecological and socio-economic data for marine parks in Indonesia including Karimunjawa Marine National Park. In Karimunjawa this dataset has been crucial in reaching consensus among governments, policy makers and communities on a new zoning plan within the framework of National marine protected area policy. The new set of conservation measures for Karimunjawa have been endorsed by all stakeholders throughout a collaborative community consultation process and will be legislated by the national government in 2005. The achievement of this new policy marks a fundamental shift in Indonesian marine protected area management where for the very first time in Indonesia community consultation and non-governmental advice have been pivotal to the design of new marine resource regulations within a marine national park. WCS is now the key advisor to National Park Authority responsible for conducting monitoring and education programs and communicating management outcomes to communities in the park.
With much of Indonesia population dependant on marine resources for food and income their exists a huge challenge to manage marine resources in a more sustainable manner. In Indonesia there is growing awareness that the practice of developing marine protected areas without the support of local communities does not result in improvements in community livelihoods or biodiversity conservation.
Key threats to the marine environment include uncontrolled fishing activities within the park, destruction of corals reefs through overfishing and destructive practices (eg. cyanide poisoning) a lack of government capacity to control damaging activities and a lack of community awareness and involvement in resource management activities.
At WCS our unique approach is to blend community based approaches with quality scientific investigations to deliver conservation outcomes for Indonesian marine conservation. We specialize in the following areas: Improving community livelihoods in small island networks; Strengthening community and institutional support for marine resource management; Promoting improved marine governance and policy (MPA regulations); Increasing capacity of government and communities to manage marine resources; Improving education and awareness of marine protected area management Design of and development of marine protected areas; Design of scientific programs to monitor the effectiveness of marine resource management; Ecological and socio-economic impact assessments (e.g. overfishing, climatic events) in coral reef ecosystem. Ecological and socio-economic impact assessments (eg. overfishing, climatic events). The project has brought together a team of marine scientists from various universities (Bogor Agricultural University, Syiah Kuala University (Banda Aceh), and James Cook University (Australia).