Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Coral Reefs: usage zones to be set up in Nusa Pineda

Always nice to hear about measures being taken to protect coral reefs. Some people feel we have bigger fish to fry when it comes to marine issues, but coral reefs are extremely important to the health of the entire oceanic ecosystem. Just because you may not have coral reefs in your backyard, doesn't mean they have less impact.

The Coral Reef Alliance reported that in Nusa Pineda, near Bali, steps are being taken to establish various coral reef zones that will determine their use for activities like fishing and diving or snorkeling. It was recognized that the health of the reef impacts its value as a tourist destination. And the dollars brought in by tourism can offset or compensate loses in fishing or other aquatic farming activities.

Marthen Welly of The Nature Conservancy-Coral Triangle Center explained that what was proposed was three zones, namely the central, the utilization and the marine tourism zones, in the marine conservation area plan.

The central zone will cover areas that have the most breathtaking underwater view and are often visited by the world-famous Mola-mola fish and other types of marine life, including the manta ray and sperm whale. The utilization zone comprises offshore areas that can be utilized for seaweed farming and fishing; while the marine tourism zone, which also includes the central zone, can be used for water sports activities.

“Separating the zones is important because the activities in the islets are not well-managed now. People can plant seaweed anywhere, or fish in the snorkeling and diving spots,” Marthen said.

Balancing the interests of local fishermen or farmers with the economic benefits of tourism is an important goal for many tropical reef locales. Let's hope that was has been proposed for Nusa Pineda is successful and acts as an example to others. (Read article from The Jakarta Post.)

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