17 Mar CTC Conducts Scientific Surveys in Sula Islands to Study Feasibility of Setting Up New Marine Protected Areas
CTC conducted a biophysic and socio-economic survey in three islands within Sula Regency in North Maluku on March 17 to 27, 2017 to collect data and study the feasibility of establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) in these sites as part of the USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (SEA) Project implementation. These included Sulawesi, Northeast Mangoli and Lifmatola Islands.
The biophysic survey assessed the distribution of coral reefs, key marine animal species; calculate the percentages of live coral cover, fish abundance and biomass; and identified mangroves, seagrass and turtle beach distribution. On the other hand, the socio-economic survey collected primary data about demography, fisheries, marine tourism and local traditional wisdom in the coastal areas.
CTC found large numbers of critically endangered green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles in Lifmatola (where 39 turtles can be found in one transect) and in Northeast Mangoli (where 42 turtles can be found in one transect). Apart from sea turtles, the CTC team also found abundant populations of blacktip sharks, napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish and several dolphin pods.
However, during the socio-economic survey CTC found that community members in Lifmatola and Mangoli Islands still collect sea turtle eggs and consume it on daily basis, although they have stopped hunting for turtles’ meat and shells. This stresses the urgent need for protection of the area’s sea turtle population and the establishment of sea turtle sanctuaries. Following a detailed analysis of the survey data, CTC under the USAID SEA Project will work with the local community and government authorities to help conserve and protect the islands’ rich marine biodiversity while sustaining local livelihoods.
The five-year USAID SEA Project provides support for the Government of Indonesia in marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management in Maluku, North Maluku and West Papua, which lie within the Indonesian Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 715.
Photo Credit: Marthen Welly/CTC