Exploring coral reef in North Maluku Seascape

On April, 22 Wildlife Conservation Society Marine Program conducted ecology survey in four region in North Maluku province, namely Mare Island, Widi Island, Kayoa Island and Morotai Island. This activity is collaboration with USAID Sea Project for collecting marine baseline surveys to assess the health of diverse coral reefs. 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.

At this moment, high pressure to coastal ecosystem especially from destructive fishing and increasing of global warming has led to degradation of coral reef ecosystem across in Indonesia especially in the last year 2016. So the need of establish MPA (marine protected area) will help protect and manage the unique biodiversity, fisheries and other ecosystem services the seascape provides.

The dive team had collected  52 location of baseline data on the abundance and diversity of corals and fish species, as well as key invertebrates such as sea cucumbers which are an important source of livelihood for local communities. Our observation found that several locations was threatened by destructive fishing.  This is common problem that led to degradation of coral reef across in Indonesia even though there are hope and optimism, as long as we conducted the survey, the team also found a number of marine mega fauna likes shark, manta ray cleaning stations, thurtle and dolphins in several location. Hard coral cover is recorded has >60% percen cover in several location of area study.  Finally, MPA that will be created in the North Maluku we hope can reduce threats by separat­ing conflicting uses, protecting important fishing areas (e.g., spawning aggregation sites) and also promoting sustainable fisheries.

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