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Marine Conservation Efforts in Indonesia


Marine Conservation Efforts in Indonesia

2024-05-22 22 May 2024

From plastic pollution to marine research, and species revival to protecting coastal communities, Indonesia is home to all. Playing host to some of the most ecologically biodiverse marine environments in the entire world, the waters surrounding Indonesia are a treasure trove for research. Unfortunately, however, they also face the major threats of anthropogenic climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction.

Even though the situation may at times seem dire, some amazing organisations currently strive to conserve beauty the remaining beauty and restore the destroyed to what it once was. This is a brief overview of just a handful of these inspiring groups, and what they are currently doing to conserve our marine environment.

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Plastic pollution and recycling - Sungai Watch

Sungai Watch is an organisation that began in Bali in 2020. They designed and implemented simple river barrier technology that stops the flow of plastic from entering the ocean. In addition to this, they conduct large-scale emergency clean-ups at illegal dump sites along river banks, and they also sort through the trash so that it can be recycled afterwards.

Now expanding to rivers in East Java, Sungai Watch mitigates the problem of plastic pollution in Indonesia, which is a big issue, and protects the ocean through preventative measures, as well as through education in local schools and with the local community concerning the importance of recycling and responsible waste disposal.

If you’re looking for ways to get involved, you can volunteer at their clean-ups, sponsor a river barrier, donate, or report any illegal landfills or dirty rivers. quirky

Reviving species - ReShark, Stegostoma tigrinum Augmentation and Recovery (StAR) Project

Species and biodiversity decline is an ever-pressing issue in Indonesia and the world. In Raja Ampat specifically, zebra shark populations are threatened and declining rapidly due to habitat destruction and the shark finning trade. Even though Raja Ampat is one of the few places in the world that contains a vast network of well-enforced marine protected areas, without additional intervention, zebra shark populations struggle to bounce back due to slow growth rates and long gestation periods. This is why ReShark exists, to help shark populations get back to healthy numbers and restore ecological balance.

So with the help of aquariums around the world, ReShark and the StAR Project aims to breed zebra sharks for the purpose of reintroduction to the wild in the waters of Raja, in order to bring their species back from the brink of extinction. To find out more, their website offers information on their nursing process, transport, and animal husbandry. You can also read about each tagged shark that they have ever successfully released into the wild!

Marine research and education - Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF)

In Nusa Penida, Komodo, Sangalaki Island, and Raja Ampat, the Marine Megafauna Foundation works to build research on threatened marine species in order to better protect them throughout Indonesia, and the world’s oceans. Working specifically with ocean giants such as rays, sharks, and sea turtles, MMF conducts threat assessments, population monitoring, studies on movement ecology to identify and understand specific habitats to safeguard, and investigates the impact of marine microplastics specifically on filter feeders.

In their established locations, MMF also works with the local community to spread awareness and education in regards to marine conservation. They work with local dive centres and local snorkelling operators to ensure a code of conduct is in place when interacting with wildlife, whilst also hosting fundraising events and weekly educational talks on manta rays.

Coastal community protection and economic sustainability - Pandu Laut

Indonesia is an archipelagic nation that relies on its marine ecosystem for sustenance, protection, and livelihood. More than half of the country’s population depends on fish as their main source of protein and livelihood, and entire islands depend on marine tourism as a form of income.

Since 2018, Pandu Laut is an NGO and community that has been working towards protecting that aspect of Indonesian life. Through conducting educational beach clean-up events, mangrove and coral restoration projects, in addition to working with small-scale fishermen to aid them in becoming economically independent, Pandu Laut aims to tackle the issue of plastic pollution, protect Indonesia’s coastline from the effects of climate change, and create an environmentally and economically sustainable situation for small-scale fishermen, and thus a large fraction of the Indonesian population.


Written by Kayli Wouters

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