13 Aug Reef Health and Resource Use Monitoring and Post-Pandemic Livelihood Recovery Nusa Penida MPA
CTC’s marine protected area (MPA) learning sites team was back in Nusa Penida’s pristine waters in August 2021 to lead the annual multi-stakeholder reef health monitoring survey. This time, the team did not encounter many people underwater. Instead, they found themselves face to face with many of the islands’ charismatic marine animals and healthy coral reefs. Apart from looking at the status of the coral reefs and fish populations in the Nusa Penida MPA, this year’s survey and monitoring activities also aimed to assess the impact of the pandemic to the MPA’s marine ecosystem.
The reef health monitoring survey covered 14 spots at the depth of 3 and 10 meters. Some of the team’s key observations include an overall increase in live coral coverage by 9% compared to the previous year. The team also observed new coral growth in sites that were previously damaged by marine tourism activities, as well as an increased number of manta rays in popular dive sites such as Manta Point and Manta Bay. However, the team found that there was a decline in the number of key fish populations in the MPA.
These observations can be attributed to the sharp decline in the number of tourists and visitors to the Nusa Penida MPA from 2020-2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted the tourism industry and prompted tourism workers to shift to other livelihood sources such as seaweed farming and fishing. The shift in economic activity resulted in an increased number of fishermen fishing in the Nusa Penida MPA, and led to a corresponding increase in fishing pressure in the MPA’s fisheries zones.
The CTC team is currently analyzing the data from the reef health and resource use monitoring surveys and will report back its final analysis to the various stakeholders including Marine Affairs and Fisheries Department of Bali Province, Bali MPA Management Unit, and BPSPL Denpasar, amongst others. This year’s annual surveys were carried out by representatives from CTC, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) Center for Coastal and Marine Resources Management (BPSPL) Denpasar, ADB Coremap-CTI Nusa Penida Project, as well as volunteer divers.
Meanwhile, to help facilitate an inclusive post-pandemic blue recovery in the Nusa Penida MPA, CTC is aiming to support local community groups in nature-based livelihood programs such as coral reef and mangrove rehabilitation, community-based eco-tourism, and improving post-harvest marketing for seaweed farmers. These projects will be implemented under the ADB-ICCTF COREMAP-CTI Nusa Penida Project.
To start the process, CTC conducted baseline surveys across the Nusa Penida MPA to assess possible sites for mangrove and coral rehabilitation, as well as to identify community groups who will collaborate in its implementation. Following the assessment, CTC also led a public consultation on August 30-31, 2021 to share the project activities to the local government and community leaders and gather their input and feedback on the project implementation going forward.
Photos by: Purwanto/CTC, Kasman/CTC & Yoga Putra/CTC