30 Jun Surveying Marine Life in Morotai
As part of its implementation of the USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (SEA) Project, CTC traveled to Morotai in eastern Maluku last April to May 2017 to study coral reefs, fisheries as well as how the coastal communities in the area utilize their marine resources.
During the survey, the researchers found abundant populations of reef sharks particularly around Mitita Island at the southwest part of Morotai. The dominant species are black-tip and white-tip reef sharks. However, the researchers noticed a notable absence of demersal fish populations fish that live close to the bottom of the ocean. They also conducted socioeconomic survey of 22 coastal villages and found that local fishing communities have concentrated their fishing efforts on certain fish species, possibly causing an imbalance on the marine ecosystem
These data will be used to assess the health and conditions of the local marine ecosystem in Morotai and help guide the establishment of a marine protected area (MPA) in the province. An MPA will help promote sustainable fisheries and help protect charismatic marine animals, such as sharks and sea turtles, which can be a big draw for marine tourism and benefit the local economy
CTC conducted the survey in collaboration with marine scientists from University of Pattimura and University of Khairun Universities as well as volunteers from Morotai Islands Regency as well as local dive operators. USAID SEA Project works are to support the Government of Indonesia in marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management. The project will last for 5 years, from March 2016 to March 2021. The project works at national and local levels, which covers three adjacent provinces in eastern Indonesia, namely Maluku, North Maluku and West Papua which lie within the Indonesian Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 715.